Get an insider's view into the tech taking brick-and-mortar retail by storm
Scan. Pay. Done with Snabble.
Germany-based Snabble is modernizing brick-and-mortar retail with its shopper-centric Scan & Go mobile shopping app and the corresponding software for stationary Self-Checkout.
Snabble promises contact- and line-free shopping by turning Android and iOS smartphones into barcode readers. Shoppers use these to scan items or shelf labels and then pay within the app or at the provided Self-Checkout terminal.
Unlike most other apps, though, Snabble offers retailers a mix of physical and virtual checkout options ranging from a hybrid to an entirely virtual experience. The specific option taken, can be chosen by the retailer for every store or store format individually.
Snabble has made inroads thanks to its flexibility and error-free scanning. Its versatile platform enables Snabble to serve all markets from micro to massive, including Germany's 50 square meter tegut…teo store and Frankfurt's IKEA.
What's Snabble's secret?
We asked Alexandra "Alexis" Tsingeni, Snabble's Head of Business Development. As bubbly as a bottle of Bionade soda, Tsingeni is a tireless advocate for #MobilePayment #ScanAndGo #SelfCheckout, and of course, #Snabble.
"I get in touch with retailers, employees, software and hardware developers who I then share knowledge with," she explained. "This way, I get a 360-degree view of what self-scanning checkout needs to be like."
Because her finger is on the pulse of retail, Tsingeni happily shared what Scan & Go apps can do for retailers facing online competition and constantly changing market requirements.
Can you introduce Snabble and its retail innovations?
Yes, Snabble is a Scan & Go platform that offers retailers three self-checkout options:
- A stationary self-checkout terminal—customers scan products and pay cashless at the stationary checkout terminal.
- A mobile solution—shoppers scan all products with the app, then receive a generated code; after that they pay cashless at the store's terminal.
- A mobile-only solution—customers scan items and pay all through their own device with either the Snabble or the retailer's app.
Smartphones and cameras have developed rapidly within the last couple of years, and now they match the quality of handheld scanners, which cuts costs. Through Code's CortexDecoder, we provide a flawless scanning experience.
Which primary industries do you focus on? Is it mostly retail?
With Snabble's solution, we don't have to specialize in just one type of retail. Beyond traditional DIY stores, drug stores, and food markets, Snabble serves B2B cash-and-carry outlets and 24-hour, self-service stores like tegut…teo.
What brought you to CortexDecoder?
DIY market stores. These stores have massive areas with uneven lighting and dirty or damaged barcodes. The main problems we had with the previous library were lots of mis-scans and issues detecting barcodes. We sought a new solution that simplified barcode scanning and could detect what we wanted.
When we started with IKEA in January 2019, we came across new barcode types (ITF-14) that were tricky, but CortexDecoder could scan them easily. This was when we decided to make it to our standard scan engine.
Tech-wise we have different types of Scan & Go implementations.
- We have our own Snabble multi-retailer app (on Google Play and Apple's App Store), which bundles all participating retailers into one universal app.
- We also offer SDKs that retailers can use for their own apps.
The CortexDecoder backs both because we want to offer the same great scanning experience no matter what.
Were there other competitors that you tested, and what were the most important factors that you evaluated?
We tested five different implementations; the CortexDecoder was one of the best and most cost-effective solutions among the competitors. Our tech team evaluated libraries for speed, dedication, robustness, low rate of false positives, and, of course, pricing.
When a customer uses Snabble for the first time, we want them to become Snabble fans and Scan & Go enthusiasts, so having a great scanning experience is mandatory. When something is scanned, we need immediate information about the product and its promo price—this is something that CortexDecoder helps us deliver.
Were there any issues implementing the CortexDecoder?
Implementation was easy—the only issue was that the scanner was too fast. At Frankfurt's IKEA, the decoder would detect all the other barcodes in the shopping cart, so that we had to balance the scanner's sensitivity to avoid false scans.
What has been IKEA's feedback?
As of early 2021, we're in a well-visited IKEA store based in Frankfurt. IKEA Germany's headquarters is more than happy with this solution, because the KPIs are in our favor. For example, the average basket value of our app was 25% higher than at the rest of the store. This might be because the people using our app are more relaxed—they don't have to deal with scanning at the counter. They also get to use the fast Snabble checkout lane, which makes them skip the line, while others are still waiting.
Tell us more about your Scan & Go solution at tegut…teo. How does a store without cashiers ensure prices are aligned and stock replenished?
tegut teo is a micro-market where customers make purchases via Snabble's Scan & Go app and a stationary self-checkout terminal. In less than 50 square meters (about 538 square feet), tegut…teo operates 24/7 without a cashier and sells everything from fresh vegetables and frozen goods to non-alcoholic beverages and dry goods. We have a checkout supervisor who monitors in real-time how many people are in the store using either the self-checkout terminal or the app. In addition, the retailer gets shopper and product statistics via an online Dashboard (Snabble retailer portal).
tegut…teo is about to open its third store—we're excited because the two are popular and exceed tegut's expectations.
What makes Snabble stand out vs. other Scan & Go apps on the market?
We are unique because of our multi-retailer platform. With one implementation, we have three types of scanning: SCO (self-checkout system), mobile, and mobile-to-SCO. The last one helps us in terms of automatic age verification; we can support a 24/7 self-serve retailer that sells alcohol and tobacco without human interaction.
We have two different types of age verification.
- A shopper can pay directly (online payment method) through a verified bank account.
- When you pay by card, we can read the age out of the chip and transfer it through our backend into your profile. The purchaser must input additional credentials—a two-factor authentication with the biometrical system. So, if your underage child tries to purchase beer with your phone and Snabble profile, they won't succeed because of face or fingerprint recognition.
How has the pandemic changed demand for Scan & Go shopping from retailers and consumers?
More and more people don't want to bother waiting in line. People demand a new type of shopping through an app. It won't be for everybody, but I think we will see a shift in behavior pretty soon.
Tsingeni projected that retailers will develop more attractive ways to increase the use of their apps, like pushing coupons through the app. Ultimately, she concluded, data generated by the app will help retailers to get an even better understanding of their customers.
"Looking at the eCommerce type of shopping, which is also booming, we see that in stationary retail, we need more data points. Through self-scanning, we have a lot of raw material that can help uplift both the shopping experience and sales," she said.
With its gaze fixed on the future, there's no doubt Snabble will continue pushing the boundaries of brick-and-mortar stores to better serve shoppers and retailers alike.