The Real Reason Wegmans Is Shutting Down Its Popular Scan And Go App

One of America's favorite grocery stores is shuttering its fledgling self-scan shopping app after just two years of operation. In an email sent to customers — which was posted to Twitter by one recipient – Wegmans CEO Colleen Wegman announced that the company will be shutting down its scan-as-you-go mobile app at the end of the week.

The app allowed customers to scan and bag groceries as they moved through participating Wegmans locations and pay with the tap of their phone at the conclusion of their shopping trip. The company first debuted the SCAN app in 2020 in response to the COVID-19 outbreak, offering customers an in-store shopping option that eliminated face-to-face transactions (via The Buffalo News). "Early in the pandemic, we quickly rolled out our SCAN App to provide a contactless in-store shopping option," Wegman wrote in the email.

With its contact-free checkout option, the grocer, which recently topped Forbes' annual Best Workplaces list, joined the growing list of retailers utilizing cashier-less checkout technology, including Amazon, which paved the way with its dash cart-enabled Amazon GO stores, and Aldi, which opened its first entirely till-free supermarket earlier this year (via BBC).

However, after just two years, Wegmans made the decision to shut down the SCAN app, telling customers: "Unfortunately, the losses we are experiencing from this program prevent us from continuing to make it available in its current state."

Theft was too big of a hurdle for Wegmans to overcome

Although the retailer didn't expand upon the "losses" incurred by the use of the app, research has indicated that the use of self-scanning systems could ultimately hurt a retailer's bottom line. One 2018 study by researchers at the University of Leicester evaluated the potential loss risks for retailers associated with various forms of self-scan checkout systems.

After compiling data from 140 million scan-and-go transactions at 13 retailers, researchers concluded that hundreds of thousands of items went unscanned, equating to major losses for the companies.

Wegmans isn't the first retailer to backpedal on self-scan technology over shoplifting concerns. According to former Walmart executive Joel Larson, after the retail giant launched its own Scan and Go feature within the Walmart mobile app, which similarly allowed customers to scan and pay for items on their own phone, the company had a hard time thwarting thefts (via Business Insider). "You think that the theft is bad on self-checkouts? Wait until you try Scan and Go, where nobody is watching the customers out in the aisles," said Larson. Although Multi Channel Merchant revealed the retailer temporarily halted the use of the technology in 2018, it has since relaunched the option under the name Check Out With Me (via Business Insider).

It's unclear whether the Wegmans app will ever make a similar return to shoppers' mobile phones, so fans of the technology should get in one last round of contact-free shopping while they can; The SCAN app will officially shut down on September 18.