Economics and Giant Eagle
Christopher Briem has questions about Giant Eagle's Fuelperks program.
This reminds me to comment on G'Eagle's Personal Shopper system. We ran into this the last time we went into the grocery store: it extends the self-service check-out system to a wand that you carry around the store with you. Scan items as you pick them up, bag them in your cart, and when it's time to leave the system already knows your total and all you have to do is pay.
It's a nice idea, but I see a few flaws:
- You have to go through a rather tedious process to get the wand at the beginning (onerously tedious if it's your first time).
- If you shop with your spouse/s.o./roommates you now have multiple people running around trying to find the person with the wand.
- Bagging on the fly is dramatically less efficient than bagging at check-out (when you have a sense of what else needs to fit in the bag).
- Most shoppers probably aren't as efficient at bagging as people who do this for a living.
- The main benefit to the consumer seems to be that of cutting down the wait at the checkout counter. It appears to do this by making the rest of the trip slower.
On the plus side, it removes the annoying "place item in bagging area" loop in the self-service checkout systems.