CES 2022: New contactless shopping services are coming

Scan & Go and UnboxIt are designed to help customers learn more about products and to earn their loyalty -- without interacting with store employees.

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Shelby Brown (she/her/hers) is an editor for CNET's services team. She covers tips and tricks for apps, operating systems and devices, as well as mobile gaming and Apple Arcade news. Shelby also oversees Tech Tips coverage. Before joining CNET, she covered app news for Download.com and served as a freelancer for Louisville.com.
  • She received the Renau Writing Scholarship in 2016 from the University of Louisville's communication department.
Shelby Brown
2 min read
Google's Pixel 6 Pro smartphone

Merkle wants to make your smartphone more useful when you're shopping. 

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Marketing company Merkle introduced two contactless shopping services that don't require apps at CES 2022 this week. Scan & Know and UnboxIt are additions to Merkle's ShopNXT products designed to streamline shopping and build customer loyalty.

The COVID-19 pandemic has spurred the popularity of contactless shopping. Retailers have incorporated contactless pickup, delivery and payment into their daily operations. Starbucks and Amazon, for example, have even opened locations that can operate without a cashier.

Scan & Know lets shoppers use their phone's camera to scan items in-store to learn more about them and add items to wish lists or registries. Scan & Know works with Merkle's other product, Scan & Go, which lets you pay without going through a checkout line. "For both Scan & Know and Scan & Go, our technology integrates in the retailer's existing website, loyalty programs and customer profiles," said Val Vacante, director of strategy and product innovation at Merkle. 

Scan & Know works on e-commerce platforms like Shopify, Salesforce Commerce Cloud, Adobe Commerce and BigCommerce, according to Merkle. 

The UnboxIt feature lets you scan a QR code to browse information like loyalty programs, subscriptions, product ratings and social media pages. When you have an item delivered, a QR code is included in the box. "For UnboxIt, a brand would include a QR code in the package that they ship, either on the receipt, order form or ideally a custom note," Vacante said.

"Things will never go back to the way they were before 2020, and that includes the shopping experience," Pete Stein, Merkle's global experience and commerce lead, said in a statement. "Consumers want to get back to the stores -- but they also want to do it in a safe and responsible way."