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CSA Exclusive: Fairway Market puts checkout in hands of customer

Regional grocery chain Fairway Market is putting the “self” in self-checkout with a new mobile app.

Fairway, which operates 15 stores in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut, offers a mobile checkout app based on FutureProof Retail’s line-free mobile shopping platform and Digimarc’s mobile scanning SDK. Available at select locations, the app allows customers to move around the store and scan items they would like to purchase.

Integration with Fairway’s retail scales allows shoppers to add produce and bulk foods to their mobile shopping cart by scanning a QR code, and add deli items and prepared foods directly from digital scales. When customers are ready to pay for their purchases, they scan a QR code and exit the store, without waiting in line at the cash register.

Michael Penner, director of retail applications and technology at Fairway, discussed the details of the self-checkout system with Chain Store Age.

“We tested and evaluated multiple technologies and processes designed to elevate our customer’s experience, focused around a faster, more convenient checkout,” said Penner. “Ultimately, we chose a bring your own device (BYOD) solution versus traditional self-checkout.”

According to Penner, BYOD mobile self-checkout eliminates the disconnection with the customer that can happen when self-checkout is offered via kiosks or other retailer-supplied devices.

“Our customers can control their in-store experience, while allowing us to engage on their terms,” explained Penner. “We can send promotions, event notifications, recipes, suggestive purchases, and other alerts directly to their mobile device.”

So far, customer response to the program has been positive. Ninety-four percent of post-purchase experience ratings are four stars or more, and the iOS version of the app has a 4.9 rating on the App Store. Fairway has measured average checkout time at 2.4 seconds and accuracy at 99.8%.

To combat potential theft, Fairway uses an algorithm in its mobile self-checkout system that randomly flags customers at checkout for bag checks. Each successful bag check decreases the customer’s chance of future checks and increases their trust rating.

“This technology has differentiated us from our competitors, giving our customers an alternative to the conventional grocery store experience,” concluded Penner. “In the stores currently rolled out with mobile checkout we have seen a reduction in front end wait times, an increase in new customers, and excitement among everyone.”
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