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The shopping cart goes electronic at Stop & Shop

NEW YORK -- Three Stop & Shop stores in the Boston area will launch a software app from ModivMedia that allow customers with iPhones to scan grocery items and add them to an electronic shopping cart, The Boston Globe reported.

By aiming the phone’s camera at the bar code on a product package, the customer can see the price and add it to the electronic shopping cart, according to the report. Once shopping is done, the app relays the information to a checkout register, where the customer can pay with cash or a credit card. The app speeds up the checkout process by eliminating the need for a store employee to manually scan the items.

ModivMedia, Quincy, Mass., already offers the same service through handheld self-checkout scanners found in 350 supermarkets in the United States, including local Stop & Shop outlets. Initially, the new app will work only at Stop & Shop stores in Braintree, Quincy, and Plymouth, Mass. But the chain plans to introduce the service to more stores throughout the year, the report said.

To use the app, a customer will need an iPhone 3GS or iPhone 4 (older are not compatible). ModivMedia plans to offer an app that runs on Google’s Android operating system later this year.

The app connects to the store’s Wi-Fi wireless network, allowing the retailer to collect and analyze information about purchases. The store can offer special coupons and discounts to customers based on each one’s individual buying habits.

To date, only Stop & Shop and Giant Landover, both of which are owned by Dutch supermarket company Royal Ahold have adopted the system.

Stop & Shop introduced its first mobile app back in March; a service that syncs with customer loyalty cards, providing customers with access to their online accounts -- including checking for gas points, A+ School Rewards and personalized savings. Customers can access store circulars to check out every day savings on the go and also get directions to the nearest Stop & Shop.