Cost of living: Countdown says its 'Scan & Go' can help Kiwis save money

One of New Zealand's largest supermarket chains claims contactless shopping could help Kiwis budget as the cost of living soars. 

Supermarket chain Countdown launched its contactless shopping method "Scan & Go" in select stores two years ago and has since slowly rolled it out to 20 stores.

Scan & Go works by customers scanning the barcode of each item through the Countdown app and then packing it into their shopping bag. 

At the end of their shop, a QR code is generated, which can be scanned at a dedicated unmanned checkout resulting in electronic payment. Once the payment has been accepted, the customer gets let out through the barriers.  

Countdown Digital and Loyalty director Mark Wolfenden told AM on Tuesday Scan & Go can save customers time and money during their shopping. 

"It's all about you just having control over your budget as you're shopping because as you're going around the store, you can see exactly how much you're spending," Wolfenden told AM co-host Ryan Bridge.  

"We see quite a lot of customers using it for actually their whole grocery shop, not even just the small shops because they can really control how much they shop that way."

Wolfenden doesn't believe there will be a time when everyone is using Scan & Go, but feels it's another great tool to offer to their customers. 

"I think there'll probably be always customers who have a preference for one or the other," he said. 

"So I don't think we'll ever see all customers using it, but I guess having the option there means that people can shop the way that they want to." 

Scan & Go does come at a risk for the supermarket chain with an assistant in Countdown Ponsonby telling Stuff that staff in the store referred to the contactless shopping method as "Scam & Go".

This is because they felt it enabled frequent theft, with shoppers regularly paying for a lot less than they had put in their bags.

Wolfenden acknowledged there was a "slightly higher risk" of shoplifting but doesn't believe it's being targeted by thieves. 

"We don't see it being targeted by shoplifters at the moment. It's obviously a slightly higher risk, but we do have some security measures in place which for financial reasons we can't disclose exactly what they are, but the team do keep a really close eye on it," he said. 

"Then there is a dedicated lane with an electric barrier as well, it's a little high risk, but we're pretty confident that it's safe." 

Watch the full interview with Mark Wolfenden above.