Once a convenience for the time-strapped, the ongoing coronavirus pandemic has led consumers to demand technology that makes shopping safer. This demand has driven the rise of Scan & Go digital solutions that allow customers to scan and pay for items directly in an app and leave—no more queuing up. Shopreme GmbH, a joint venture of wirecube and Umdasch Group Ventures, is a global front runner in mobile Scan & Go solutions, leading the charge with a comprehensive app that fully digitalizes all retail processes to make shopping simple and smarter.
Over the past four years, Shopreme GmbH, a software development company based in Graz, Austria, has developed and optimized their Scan & Go app. Replacing checkout stands, Shopreme consists of native applications for Android, iOS, as well as web application for large retailers across Europe. Leveraging Code Corporation’s CortexDecoder barcode software, Shopreme delivers a flawless end-user experience. “In 2020, we entered a joint venture with the Umdasch Group that allows us to strategically invest in our solution so that it can easily be adopted by many retailers as it doesn’t need any infrastructure,” explains Nico Müller, Chief Product Officer at Shopreme.
Scanning Engine Helps Shopreme Reign Supreme
For Shopreme, a best-in-class Scan & Go application must deliver an excellent customer experience while creating value for retailers. A crucial component of the app is the barcode scanning engine, which needs to perform well in all instances—from an out-of-the-case jar to a bag of chips rumpled by a child.
“First, we started using open-source scanning engines, which turned out not to be very good,” states David Ganster, Shopreme’s lead software development engineer. “The major roadblock we hit when we started testing our software with Billa (an Austrian supermarket chain) was that we had some GS1 Databar Expanded Stacked symbology that non-proprietary software basically couldn’t read. We had to look around for solutions and found multiple providers of scanning software which we tested and evaluated.”
During evaluation, the Shopreme team used a few mission-critical parameters to measure each scanning engine's performance. These included:
- the decoding speed, which is particularly challenging for older Android devices with lower performance and simple camera hardware.
- the accuracy, the number of false positives or false metrics.
- the pricing model that would allow them to scale up very quickly.
“We had demanding requirements that we tried to reproduce in the real world by having a non-technical person scanning a crumpled bag of chips with an Android phone and then measured the difficulty and time spent on scanning the code. CortexDecoder performed really well in all these tests,” recalls Ganster.
Shopreme has now been working with Code scanning software since the launch of their application in 2018.
“We chose the CortexDecoder because we received excellent support,” recalls Müller. “We saw that the technology is at the top level of the industry and far exceeds our own performance goals. The license model also allows us to scale easily and is well-suited to how we work with our customers.”
Shopreme was also able to partner closely with Code, providing the Salt Lake City, UT (USA) based firm with critical user feedback. Shopreme was one of the first beta testers of the CortexDecoder Web SDK (software development kit). Having received the first build of it, they could report bugs right to Code’s development team to help expedite development on both sides.
In addition to the native mobile-based application, Shopreme can also be used as a web app with full Scan & Go functionality. That means customers don’t need to download an app; they access a browser on their phone, scan, and go.
Scanners Stop Shrinkage
Creating an excellent user experience is a key goal for brands like Shopreme. Working with some of the largest retailers, they have spent years refining their application. The payoff: Consistently earning a lofty 98% rating from end-users via their feedback form. “Common feedback on other Scan & Go applications with one- or two-star ratings is that the scanner didn’t work properly, or they couldn’t scan anything, which has never been our case with the CortexDecoder,” says Ganster.
Next to the end-user adoption of the application, retailers worry about profit-draining theft (called “shrinkage” by retail insiders) when implementing Scan & Go applications. Having analyzed thousands of purchases, Shopreme found no additional theft in comparison to traditional checkout. “In our application, we show that the end-user can be subject to a random check, which creates a psychological barrier. For some customers, we’ve also built hardware such as a physical gate, together with our partner Umdasch The Storemakers, that only opens after an end-user scans the QR code that’s generated as a part of the receipt,” explains Müller.
Contact-free Shopping Across the Continent
Shopreme has amassed an interesting portfolio of clients over the past two years. This includes organizations as diverse as the Munich Airport; Billa, one of the largest supermarket chains in Central and Eastern Europe; and Douglas, European perfumery leader. “The partnership with Code and the contract that we have are very beneficial to us when it comes to onboarding new customers. It allows us to sell our product as a complete package without an extra bureaucratical hurdle,” says Müller.
One of the value-adds that Shopreme brings to the retailers is access to additional insightful data generated by the application. Combined with Shopreme’s optional indoor navigation, retailers can optimize product placement within stores. With the data that the application helps generate, retailers gain insight into consumer behavior and store performance. Shopreme also offers a huge list of extra features such as multimedia product information, shared shopping lists, personalized recommendations, and location-based advertising to create a true 360-degree omnichannel experience.
How have shoppers reacted?
The application has racked tens of thousands of downloads according to Shopreme’s metrics—during one single store’s opening, Shopreme clocked 11,000 scans! “Code’s CortexDecoder is an enabler of the application and allow us to provide a great customer experience,” concludes Müller.
And, with more stores coming online, Shopreme’s poised to rise—even as the pandemic subsides, shoppers will likely continue craving the convenience and speed of contact-free shopping.