Are retail handheld scanners a missed opportunity for consumer feedback?

With the most recent report from VDC Research predicting the global market for handheld self-scanning hardware, software, and services to grow 65% from $117.3M in 2018 to $195.2M in 2023, we can expect to see more and more of these adopted for price check or self-service checkout.

Grocery is by far the leading use case for handheld self-scanning solutions and demand growth will be driven in North America where these devices are not yet as commonplace as within European retail. But is it a missed opportunity to solicit invaluable customer feedback?

Using retail handheld scanners to customer surveys

Don’t get me wrong: nobody is going to want to get a survey each time they pick up another item in store - these devices are for convenience. But given an EPoS system will know the shopper, a message can pop up to say “we believe you’ve had this pizza before: how would you rate it?” A simple star rating here is all that’s needed in a world where we’re all used to rating an Uber, with the option to skip, of course. 

Now you wouldn’t expect a 1-star review. Why would they be buying again unless they’re a real glutton for punishment? But for those 4-star reviews, it would take mere seconds to find out what’s the one thing the brand could do to make it 5 star. It’s an instant way to engage with customers and illustrate to them a desire to excel. Customers love being listened to! And clearly with all of the intelligence available, the questions would be directed at the right products. Just don’t ask more than one question per shop.

At S4RB our we work with own brand teams to share customer feedback with their suppliers to increase the focus on quality and speed up resolution - to reduce complaints, reduce returns and increase customer satisfaction.


Brand owners should seek every (non-intrusive) opportunity for feedback to engage customers. They should then engage their own brand suppliers to maximise satisfaction and brand success.

There is little doubt we will see more handheld devices in stores. I look forward to the reviews. 


S4RB has recently launched a text analysis tool which can be used to classify customer feedback from sources such as call centres, social media, in-store feedback and online reviews.

Not just high-level sentiment, but more granular categorisation and also importantly,  customer intent. Our latest report focuses on the social media aspect, although the tool works just as well for other written feedback such as the kind outlined in this blog.

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James Butcher

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