Wegmans bagged its self-checkout app because too many shoppers skipped paying and gave themselves a five-finger discount, the popular supermarket chain said.
The SCAN app, which was introduced during the pandemic in 2020, will be shut off Sunday.
“Unfortunately, the losses we are experiencing from this program prevent us from continuing to make it available in its current state,” CEO Colleen Wegman said in a memo to customers.
The trendy market’s shoppers quickly registered their outrage on social media.
“Removing its SCAN app will single-handedly ruin the way i food shop from now on. Cannot believe they are doing away with this incredible service,” tweeted one shopper.
Another tweeted: “Not happy to see @Wegmans SCAN app going away. This will literally make me shop less at Wegmans. The convenience of completing my shopping, bagging my own items, and not having to go through regular checkout often made it worth a separate trip.”
Some lamented that they were being punished for others’ misdeeds.
“Is there anything your loyal and faithful customers can do to convince you to keep the SCAN app? It was the GREATEST convenience during and after COVID and it will negatively impact the shopping experience moving forward. Signed, Your customers who didn’t steal.”
Wegmans said it “tried many adjustments to keep” the app, according to the memo.
Wegmans will hand out a $20 credit to SCAN customers as a peace offering, the company said.
Retail theft, particularly at grocery stores, is a growing problem, with some supermarkets in New York hiring armed, off-duty police officers to stand by the exits. Still many thieves have made off with hundreds of dollars of goods every day.
Scan-and-go technology took off during the pandemic when customers were anxious to limit their contact with people and to exit stores quickly.
While such apps enhance the shopping experience for customers, they also makes it “easy to scam the system” said retail consultant Brittain Ladd.
By contrast, Amazon Go stores, which have no cashiers and rely on a system of cameras and lasers to scan items customers put into their shopping carts, has virtually no theft, Ladd said.
“Regardless of how someone tries to steal something, the [Amazon] system will identify that the customer picked up an item and should be charged for the item.”
Amazon’s technology has not been more widely adopted by other retailers even though the e-commerce giant is offering it to the industry because it’s a pricey investment, Ladd said, estimating that it cost Amazon initially about $1 million to install the technology in its Amazon Go stores.