Grocer introduces a touch of tech to shopping

  • Business
  • Thursday, 21 Aug 2014

An employee checking the self-scan devices displayed at the entrance of Sam's Groceria in Encorp Strand Mall, Petaling Jaya. Ong (left) and Malik demonstrating how the self-scan system works. The interior of Sam's Groceria in Encorp Strand Mall.

In A bid to grow customer loyalty and increase business in a competitive market, retailers are increasingly investing in technology to engage consumers and to enhance the shopping experience at their outlets.

And some retailers are seeing the fruits of their investments.

One such retailer is Sam’s Groceria, a premium grocer owned by Mydin Mohamed Holdings Bhd, which is working with Motorola Solutions to implement a personal shopping system (PSS) called Sam’s Self Scan at its first outlet in Gurney Paragon Mall, Penang last year.

Using the system, shoppers can scan products they want to purchase using a Motorola Solutions portable scanner that will show the items selected and a running total of the prices.

According to Sam’s Groceria IT director Malik Murad, the PSS sets the group apart from other retailers in providing a modern retail experience.

Ong (left) and Malik demonstrating how the self-scan system works.
Ong (left) and Malik demonstrating how the self-scan system works.

“We are seeing some successes that may not be easily quantifiable, such as creating brand loyalty, getting happier customers and having customers spending more. This helps us stand out from other retailers and we will see the end result in increased revenues,” he said.

The PSS technology has since been implemented in Sam’s Groceria locations in Nu Sentral, Encorp Strand malls in Selangor, as well as the Mydin Seremban 2 hypermarket in Negri Sembilan.

Malik says that the use of the PSS at its Mydin outlet is relatively high with more than 15% of customers at the Seremban 2 outlet making use of the self-scan technology.

“We found that people who are members and who are using PSS shop three times more as they can see their total bill and know exactly how much they need to pay. This means they don’t have to make estimates that are higher than what they actually have in their shopping baskets, which deters them from buying more,” he explained.

Ong Beng Hui, senior manager of enterprise sales for Motorola Solutions, said self-scanning bridges the gap between traditional retail experience and the self-checkout system used in Europe.

“The solution, under our Connected Shopper product, is our vision of how retail will be in the future. Some of the features in this solution are the first of its kind in Asia Pacific,” said Ong.

As the industry matures, Ong added that there will be more personalised services offered under the Connected Shopper solution to enable retailers to connect better with consumers to meet their needs more effectively.

Malik also said the retail industry is learning as retailers are trying to find the fine line between marketing and personalisation to remain relevant to consumers.

The interior of Sam's Groceria in the Encorp Strand Mall in Petaling Jaya.
The interior of Sam’s Groceria in Encorp Strand Mall.

Mydin is looking to deploy the system in more Mydin Hypermarket outlets and is optimistic about trying out PSS in other market segments.

“We are looking into rolling this out in Kuala Terengganu. We believe there is pent-up demand for a more modern retail experience there,” he said.

He estimates the time frame to see a return on investment from implementing the PSS in a hypermarket takes about 24 to 36 months.

Motorola Solutions have also approached other retailers to implement a similar system and Ong says that most have shown an interest in trying out the solution.

“After all, a lot of the hypermarkets here are foreign-owned and they are already running this overseas. But we are working with Mydin here to start a trend in the retail industry in Malaysia to offer a more modern retail experience,” said Ong.

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