An app-solute breeze to shop at new FairPrice outlet

A demonstration of the app at the SingPost Centre outlet. It has been downloaded 800 times since its launch.
A demonstration of the app at the SingPost Centre outlet. It has been downloaded 800 times since its launch.ST PHOTO: ARIFFIN JAMAR

New retail tech helps shoppers find products, check on stock

An app that helps shoppers navigate FairPrice's new SingPost Centre outlet to find products on its shelves has been downloaded 800 times since it was launched two weeks ago.

It is one of several new initiatives being piloted at the technology-driven store.

Apart from plotting the quickest route to that hard-to-find item, the app also allows users to check on stock availability, and gathers data on shopping habits to deliver user-specific promotions.

Depending on feedback and demand, the app may add more features and be rolled out to other stores, FairPrice said.

The move to test out new retail technologies is part of FairPrice's efforts to provide a smart shopping experience and boost staff productivity, it told The Straits Times.

The store at the redeveloped SingPost Centre in Paya Lebar, for example, is the first supermarket to have self-checkout counters that can be converted to cashier-assisted lanes in under a minute, to ease congestion if lines are long.

It is also the first to have refrigerated lockers so customers can collect online purchases themselves, and an "experiential corner" for brands to engage customers using augmented and virtual reality and interactive booths.

Apart from plotting the quickest route to that hard-to-find item, the app also allows users to check on stock availability, and gathers data on shopping habits to deliver user-specific promotions.

The store also uses the Scan2Go system, available at its Bukit Timah Plaza outlet since 2014, where customers can scan purchases with a handheld device as they shop, and scan a QR code to check out.

Shoppers first register for a card at customer service to activate the scanners. There have been some 20,000 shoppers who have registered to date, FairPrice said.

Shoppers had mixed reactions to the added features, but said they found the handheld scanner useful as it keeps a running tally of the bill.

Engineer B.T. Kin, 50, who was shopping with his wife at the SingPost FairPrice outlet on Wednesday, said they had used the scanner several times.

"Sometimes you may not know if there is a discount, but when you scan the items, it keeps track of how much you are saving," he said.

Mrs Kin, 48, a housewife, said that the express lane for Scan2Go purchases helps to save time during checkout.

Account manager Claire Lee, 28, said: "For me, the most important thing is that the queue moves quickly. The convertible checkout counter sounds like a good idea."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 27, 2017, with the headline 'An app-solute breeze to shop at new FairPrice outlet'. Print Edition | Subscribe