Sherry Snowden works as a purchasing manager, so when she shops outside work, she likes to see things in person.

But when her children were away at college, she ordered their groceries for them online and had them delivered.

“I liked having the options,” she said Thursday after a trip to Giant on New Design Road in Frederick with her daughter.

They are excited for the Giant chain to get Scan It, a program that provides customers with a scanner to ring up items as they put them in the cart, making checkout faster.

Snowden said the grocery store where she used to live in Hagerstown had the program and she loved it.

Giant installed the self-scanners in all of its Frederick County stores two weeks ago, said Jamie Miller, a spokesman for Giant.

Giant is one of several chains adding services to make shopping more convenient for customers. The new buzzword in grocery retail has become “omni-channel,” the means by which grocery stores offer multiple ways for shoppers to buy products.

Consumers make an average of one and a half trips to the grocery store per week, according to 2015 data from the Food Marketing Institute. Weekly household expenses averaged $107.34 in 2016.

Online grocery market share of overall grocery sales in the United States is around 2 percent, according to Morgan Stanley Research, and more than a third of online shoppers expect to buy their groceries online in 2016.

A pilot program for CVS Curbside Pickup was launched this year at about 300 stores in San Francisco, Atlanta and Charlotte.

CVS began the national expansion of the CVS Express program, which includes 40 markets and more than 4,000 CVS store locations, at the end of September. The free one-hour pickup for nonprescription items such as over-the-counter medicines, household essentials, health foods and snacks, is available at Frederick locations.

“Today’s consumers want instant gratification, and by integrating CVS Curbside Pickup within the CVS Pharmacy app, we can offer a new kind of convenience that our competitors can’t,” according to a CVS Pharmacy statement.

Giant also has offered delivery through a service called Peapod for some time. It has been delving into other types of convenient shopping, such as a curbside service, although the pickup program is not offered in Frederick County, Miller said.

“Most of our stores now offer self checkouts, which is convenient for customers who only have a few items,” he said. “It’s really that multi-channel experience that we’re offering customers.”

Lynn Briscoe, a Frederick County resident, said she tried Peapod once or twice, but didn’t find the delivery windows convenient. She said she now uses HelloFresh, a weekly fresh-food subscription service that delivers food to cook meals for the week with provided recipes.

“It helps me not go to the grocery store,” she said. “It’s nice to have convenience that suits all our busy lifestyles.”

Snowden said she used Peapod to order her children’s groceries online when they were away at school and have them delivered to them. She said the only thing she wouldn’t purchase online is meat.

Although she prefers to shop in a store, her daughter Alyssa Snowden said she prefers online.

While retailers are trying to increase online sales, grocers also are focusing on produce departments, The Wall Street Journal reported.

Shoppers who don’t buy groceries online most often name the desire to pick their own produce as the reason, according to the article, which cited an online survey from Morgan Stanley earlier this year. This makes produce a store’s best defense against growing competition from online services, such as Amazon.

To overcome this hurdle, Amazon is expanding its grocery business with convenience stores that would offer curbside pickup for online orders, according to a second Wall Street Journal article. The stores, according to the article, would sell produce, milk, meats and other perishable items. Customers could order other items with a longer shelf life for same-day delivery on their smartphones or touch screens in the store.

Giant Eagle also offers curbside pickup at some of its locations based on operational capacity and customer interest, Giant Eagle spokesman Dick Roberts wrote in an email. There are no plans to expand it into the Frederick County area.

Safeway offers grocery delivery to homes and businesses in the greater D.C. and Baltimore metro areas, including most of Maryland and northern Virginia.

While many people still enjoy shopping in the store, others like the idea of ordering online, having someone else do the shopping for them, and having their groceries delivered, Beth Goldberg, a public affairs senior manager for Safeway, wrote in an email.

She said the service is convenient for mothers with small children so that they don’t have to take their children to the store, as well as for apartment residents, older people and those with physical limitations.

“We do the work for all these customer segments, saving them both time and effort,” she wrote.

Follow Brandi Bottalico on Twitter: @brandibot.

(16) comments

bosco

Wow, now you won't even need to be creative to shoplift, just " forget" to scan a few items. I predict this will be short lived and the clown that came up with this idea will go to work for J C Penny and help them with a makeover

flamingo

Giant Eagle had this system about 10 years ago. Cashiers would randomly check your purchases always picking out the highest priced items, i.e., meats, soaps etc to verify that they had indeed been scanned into the system. Eventually, GE got rid of the system because of high volume of thefts. I loved it, but as is always the case, there are a few bad apples who ruin it for everyone else. Let's see how long this system works out for Giant Foods. Stay tuned.

thevoiceoffrederick

guess you fail to see that this is hw they slowly remove jobs from the work place to be replaced by technology, 1. because they cant find people to work for the low wages, 1. to train the customer to do the work over slowly implementing a new system that you will think is cool at first and then over time when less and less cashiers are working you will us it as a convenience and then it will become second nature, like the self checkouts. When was the last time you saw all the checkout lanes even staffed, I remember a day when all lanes were open, had bag boys and they helped you load your groceries into your car. Remember the attendant that stood outside all day year round, usually a young high school kid working part time. an unmotivated, low skilled, poor customer services will be the ruin to many jobs that technology can replace, why do you think people buy online, its cheaper because they don't need a staff like the brick and mortar, of course its cheaper then not havening actual stores because of utilities, taxes and rent, but labor cost are the most expensive part of any business, followed by insurance, I'm surprised Giants labor union is ok, but giant is a publicly traded company so kick backs are now handled through stock options "friends and family"

garden whimsey

Giant Eagle had the same system but stopped using it because of theft. People were putting items in their bags that had not been scanned. In other words, they were stealing.

gary4books

Sam's Club has "curb side pickup" and it was quite convenient for an older couple (us) who found shopping to be a task. I hope Giant can offer it in the future.
As for crooks, they have ways to know who is not paying for items. They know.

Whatsup

I have yet to try this out and I've got a question. Does this unit provide a running total of the items you scanned? Perhaps it might aid someone who is trying to keep within a dollar limit?

flamingo

Yes, it as you add items to your basket - and they have been scanned - you will have the option of keeping tabs on money spent.

huskycats

Seems like if you're going to be doing the work of a checker you should get a discount.

Dwasserba

My thinking. Staff encourages you to use self checkout even for large orders. It's not faster when I do it. I smile and say, "I don't work here." I figure in the wait time.

Reader1954

seems like it will make it very easy to steal. You could carry around the scanner but only scan a few items put in your cart.

jwhamann

What's 'half' a trip to the grocery store?

knahs25

Giant Eagle has this option several years ago - but discontinued it as I believe too many items were leaving the store that were not paid for.

Fredmd21704

This is really no different than scanning items yourself at check out. I have shopped at Giant Eagle for years, and never noticed this option before.

garden whimsey

One of the Giant Eagle stores in Frederick and the other did not. As you entered the door the scanners were to your right. You had to take a scanner, scan your GE card and begin your shopping. I liked it because I could pack my bags to suit myself.

sue1955

This is a thinly disguised method for the customer to have to work as they select their items. Even in my much younger days, I tried packing my own purchases and I was miserable at it. The article moves into other desirable methods of shopping like this new method in the grocery store is the same thing. It's not. It doesn't state that the Peapod mechanism involves making a minimum purchase limit and you are expected to tip well to the driver. My daughter used that system in 2012 when I was in the hospital so much. It worked well and we didn't mind the tipping. (I don't mean that necessarily is a bad thing, but just letting people know that in case you try it). But if you need just a few things at the store, it's not for you since there is a minimum.

Anyway, I hope that scanning is voluntary. I'd hate to stop going there. It's enough for me to just through the store and I need help with just that.

Fredmd21704

Peapod states it has a minimum, and yes this is voluntary. Its for smart people.

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