Kroger ‘Scan, Bag, Go’ review: 11 things to know before trying it out

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Kroger Scan Bag Go service
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Hate waiting in line at the checkout register to unload all your groceries on the conveyor belt…just to load them up all over again at the end of the line after they’re rung up?

Kroger has a time-saving solution for you!

RELATED: Kroger’s strategy reset: 6 big changes coming to the grocer

Check out Kroger’s Scan, Bag, Go 

Scan, Bag, Go (SBG) is a new handheld wireless technology that will be in 400 Kroger stores across the country by the end of 2018.

Here’s what you need to know about the new free service…

Kroger Scan Bag Go: What exactly is it?

Just like the name suggests, Scan, Bag, Go lets you scan items that you pull off the shelf using a handheld device provided by the supermarket.

kroger scan bag go device

The devices are conveniently located at a kiosk inside the front door. The only prerequisite to getting ready to use it is scanning your Kroger Plus Shopper’s Card or punching the ID from the card  into the handheld scanner.

Once you’ve done that, you are all set. You can go up and down the aisles “ringing” yourself up by holding the device pointed at a product’s bar code and pressing the blue “SCAN” button, like this:

kroger scan bag go scanning

Scanning produce by weight is a little different…

When it comes to produce that’s sold by the pound, there’s a slightly different routine.

Start by scanning the barcode on the individual fruit or vegetable or on the produce sign that shows you the price. Then, before you actually weigh the produce, scan the barcode that’s on or near the scale:

scan bag go produce scale

Once you do that, then you can weigh your produce as normal. The weight will be displayed on your handheld scanner.

Pressing ‘YES’ will add it to your order. Pressing ‘NO’ prevents it from being added to your order, and you can reweigh if necessary.

What happens if you change your mind about an item after you scan it?

Simple, just press the “REMOVE” button. Then scan the item’s barcode again. This will discard it from your order.

Free plastic bags available

One of the big selling points of SBG is that you can bag your own groceries as you go about your shopping trip.

For maximum ease, the supermarket sells reusable bags at the SBG kiosk, but it also makes free plastic bags available, too. (You can bring your own reusable bags from home, if you like.)

scan bag go plastic bags

But note this well: Single-use plastic bags will be gone within 7 years across all Kroger supermarkets. As part of the Zero Hunger | Zero Waste commitment, Kroger says it will move to reusable bags across all stores by 2025.

Checkout is a cinch

Once you’re done shopping, just go to a self-checkout line and scan the barcode at the screen:

scan bag go checkout

This sends your order — which, of course, is recorded on your handheld scanner — to Kroger’s normal checkout system for payment.

Once the connection is made between your scanner and Kroger’s checkout system, you can easily finish the transaction by paying as you would at any self-checkout.

It’s that easy!

Kroger will pay you to test out Scan Bag Go!

As an introductory offer, Kroger will give you $5 off your groceries provided you meet a $35 minimum threshold. This offer can be used three times.

Prefer not to use the handheld scanner? Try the app! 

There is an alternative to the handheld device. That is to download the Scan, Bag, Go app for either Android or iOS to your phone. Kroger makes complementary Wi-Fi available so you can download it even if your phone plan is on a strict data diet.

You can also pay with your mobile device.

However, the associates we spoke with at our local Kroger say the mobile option is less popular than the handheld device, simply because people are reluctant to download another app.

But isn’t it nice to know that you’re not locked into having to download anything to use this innovative technology?

Another nice feature: Scan, Bag, Go will keep a running total for you

If money is tight, SBG makes it easy to come in under budget on your weekly groceries because it offers a running total of your bill.

However, any digital coupons you have attached to your Kroger Plus Shopper’s Card are not reflected in your running total — they’ll come off during checkout. So you could wind up saving even more than you think.

You will, however, be able to see the fuel points associated with your account throughout your shopping trip.

Watch out for QR codes 

Scanning is the easy part, but QR codes on some products might trip you up.

An associate shared this helpful hint with us: Sometimes the barcode on a product is positioned too closely to the QR code. If that’s the case, just use your thumb to cover up the QR code so the handheld scanner can get a clean read of the bar code.

Closeouts may have to be scanned multiple times to ring up correctly

Here’s one anomaly we observed in our SBG test…

bigen haircolor

We found a closeout on Bigen haircolor that was marked down to $2.29 after originally being priced at $4.49.

However, our first scan of the closeout label yielded the original price, not the 50% off price. So, in theory, if you didn’t catch the error, you could wind up paying twice as much as you should.

Fortunately, after removing the item from our running tally, we scanned it again and the correct price came up. Maybe the SBG system knew we were watching?!?

Scan, Bag, Go is so smart that it will account for local blue laws

If your community bans the sale of alcohol until a certain time on Sunday, don’t expect to use SBG to flout the law.

The Kroger system is so well-planned that even local restrictions are built into the architecture of the software.

During a recent Sunday morning trip, we tried scanning a bottle of closeout wine without thinking much about it. But because it was before 12:30 p.m., the price would not scan.

The handheld scanner instead told us to see an associate to help with the purchase. When we did, that associate politely reminded us of local blue laws and told us we couldn’t buy alcohol until after 12:30!

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Theo Thimou About the author:
Theo has co-written several books with Clark Howard, including the New York Times #1 bestseller Living Large in Lean Times. As a single widowed parent of two young children, he strives to bring unique savings tips to men and women like him who must face life without their spouses. He can be reached at [email protected]
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