retail news in context, analysis with attitude

The Boston Globe has a story about how nine years ago, the concept of “portable computers that could scan bar codes and let customers ring up purchases as they strolled through supermarket aisles” seemed like it was ready to catch on in a big way, and yet today Ahold-owned Stop & Shop “remains the only major US retailer whose customers can use the hand-held scanners, which were designed by Modiv Media Inc. But the Quincy company says the surging popularity of smartphones could now make the concept more practical for retailers.”

Roughly a third of Americans own smart phones, the story notes, which means that with the proper applications installed, they don’t need expensive store-provided wands to scan items - they can just use their own smart phones. And even “Modiv has converted its system to apps that let customers scan bar codes with their smartphones,” the story says.
KC's View:
I suppose that some might criticize Stop & Shop for being too early to the party, but I would not be one of those people - I think the industry needs companies that are willing to try new things and get out there in front of innovations. Sure, in retrospect it seems like it may have been a little premature, especially when you think about all the technology advancements of the past decade. But good for Stop & Shop for being willing to pioneer these systems and stay with them.