retail news in context, analysis with attitude

Yesterday, Wegmans customers received the following email from Colleen Wegman, the company's president/CEO, announcing the end of the company's SCAN app, which allowed customers to scan their groceries as they shopped the store:

Hello there,

As a valued customer and user of our SCAN App, we're writing to let you know as 

of Sunday, September 18, the SCAN App will no longer be available at Wegmans. 

Early in the pandemic, we quickly rolled out our SCAN App to provide a contactless in-store shopping option. SCAN users have told us they love the app and the convenience it offers. We love it too and have tried many adjustments to keep it. Unfortunately, the losses we are experiencing from this program prevent us from continuing to make it available in its current state. We've learned a lot and we will continue to introduce new digital solutions to streamline your shopping experience for the future. 

As a sign of our gratitude for being a frequent SCAN customer, we've applied a $20 coupon to your online account. We're so grateful you used SCAN, and we apologize for any inconvenience this may cause.

We set our goal to be the very best at serving the needs of our customers and providing you caring, incredible service. We're working hard to keep our prices competitive and look forward to continuing to serve your needs. 

KC's View:

To be honest, I've never used the Wegmans SCAN app … but my youngest sister, Clare, has, and so I'm going to turn the commentary over to her for a moment.  She sent me a series of emails…

WORST NEWS!!! Okay, there are worse things. But this is pretty bad. 

And then:

For me this has been a game changer. I can scan as I shop, and bag my own groceries. (Wegmans cashiers are the WORST baggers I have ever experienced. I do believe they bag the way they are trained, but they are terrible.)

It is rare that I wait in line. I usually scan at the checkout, pay and leave. Waiting in line will add time to my shopping trips.

Minimal human interaction. 🙂  In the wake of Covid, I value this.

I will also tell you that I am doing more comparison shopping, with inflation. I have not done this in a while b/c I always felt the prices and quality at Wegmans beat everyone else. Not really feeling that way of late. I am surprising myself and shopping at Aldi's for produce, milk and some other items. 

I guess Wegmans needs the Amazon technology. 

And:

I appreciate the $20 coupon, but would rather have the Scan app!

And finally:

One more thing - it would be great if they take away this if they could improve their self-scan area. Right now it is not conducive to checking out a weekly order - it is more for a few items.

Here's my suggestion to Wegmans.

First, you should've quantified and qualified the word "losses" to a greater degree.  It is a little vague.  If you had been more specific, customers using the SCAN app might have been more sympathetic.

As for Clare's analysis … Wegmans has a choice,  They can act as if she is an outlier, just one dissatisfied customer.  (In a variety of areas, apparently.). Or, they can proceed as if she is representative of a much larger customer group, many or most of whom did not write emails.  Or hand an older brother who has a soapbox and is not afraid to use it.

Wegmans usually is not tone-deaf.  But it is possible that in this case, it needs to listen a little harder.