More Fred Meyer, QFC stores in region to see new self-scan tech

Scan, Bag, Go: Coming soon to a grocery store near you

Kroger's new self-scanning technology continues to roll out at stores throughout Washington State.
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Kroger's new self-scanning technology continues to roll out at stores throughout Washington State.

The tech wave is coming to your grocery store.

The Scan, Bag, Go program, promised by Kroger early this year, is on the march across Washington state.

The schedule for rolling out the program at area Fred Meyer stores is Bonney Lake on Aug. 29, Puyallup on Sept. 26, Shoreline on Oct. 1 and Monroe on Oct. 2.

For QFC shoppers, the program has already launched at Seattle-area stores, including Redmond, Bellevue Square, Issaquah and Northgate. Zach Stratton, a spokesman for QFC told The News Tribune.

Over the next couple months, the company will be bringing the program to its Wallingford, Uptown (Seattle Center), Renton and University Village stores.

Once the program and new self-checkout robots are in place at your store, you can download an app on your smartphone and scan items, then pay with your phone at the self-checkout station.

The number of checkout stands being replaced by the new technology will vary by store, said Fred Meyer spokesman Jeffery Temple.

“For instance,” he said, “at Monroe, we are removing two lanes and adding 12 SCO robots.”

The tech wave isn’t just with Kroger. Walmart, for example, has been testing robotic inventory sweeps at select stores.

Robots, whether for self-checkout or inventory or even cleaning, have been moving to the forefront of more retailers’ long-term plans as another way to control customer experience without expanding labor costs.

Sometimes it doesn’t go to plan, as Walmart bailed on self-scan in May (except at its Sam’s Club sites).

Meanwhile, after all that scanning, comes time to pay.

Some California Kroger operations will no longer accept Visa credit cards as the company weighs expanding the ban. Locally, its stores have made no changes to payment policies, for now. At issue are the fees charged by the credit card companies.

In a statement Tuesday, Fred Meyer corporate said, “At this time, our Fred Meyer Stores continue to accept Visa Credit.”

All of this comes in addition to Wednesday’s news that Kroger is introducing “Kroger Ship,” its own home delivery of shelf-stable products. The program for now has rolled out to four markets (Cincinnati, Houston, Louisville, Kentucky, and Nashville), with expansion over the next few months. No word yet when it will arrive here; Instacart currently serves South Sound markets for Fred Meyer and QFC deliveries.

Debbie Cockrell: 253-597-8364, @Debbie_Cockrell