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I was a member of shop and scan a couple of years ago, but gave up and stopped. Last Christmas I really missed the vouchers I used to save up. When I had the opportunity to join again through a survey site I jumped at the chance.
Shop and Scan
Shop and scan is an invitation only panel. If you are interested in joining you can register your details at www.volunteer4panels.com and if you are lucky enough to match the credentials they are looking for you will get an email invitation. Another way to find an invitation is to keep an eye on survey sites you are registered with, this is the way I joined shop and scan (both times). They will ask you a few questions to make sure you match what they are looking for and you are accepted.
The welcome pack and installation
A few days after being accepted a welcome pack will be sent through the post. Included in this pack is the clicker (barcode scanner), USB cable, a welcome letter and a ring bound booklet which contains the installation CD.
Before using the clicker for the first time the installation CD has to be loaded on to the computer so you can install the drivers needed for transmitting barcodes.
What do I do?
Once getting home with the shopping the scanning process begins. It starts by finding the blue page in the booklet and scanning the name of the person who did the shop. This is simple, by pressing the button on the black match box sized clicker a red laser will appear for you to scan over the barcode next to the name. After this it's time to scan the place where the shopping was bought from the yellow pages, then the amount spent from the green pages. The fun now begins playing checkout by scanning all the shopping. Some items such as fresh fruit and vegetables won't have any barcodes to scan, but there are pink pages in the booklet to scan instead. Once the shopping has been scanned that's it, the scanning process has finished!
Barcodes have to be transmitted once a week, before midnight on Sunday. Simply plug the USB cable into a USB port on your computer, plug the clicker on to the cable and log on to the website. Find the 'transmit barcodes' page and click transmit and the clicker will start beeping. Once the transmit has completed the page will refresh and tell you it has finished. Hurray, it's all done.
To collect more points you also have the opportunity to transmit images of the receipts from your shopping, this can be done by either scanning or taking photos of the receipts and uploading them on to the website.
Shop and scan operate a points based system where you collect points each week, then redeem them for various vouchers. For the first barcode transmit completed 10,000 points are rewarded which equates to a £10 voucher. Every week after that 1,100 points are awarded for transmitting barcodes, and if you send images of your receipts as well you get another 500 points. That works out to 1,600 points a week, £1.60 in monetary terms. Occasionally shop and scan send an email to invite you to do a survey about your shopping trips, this awards you extra points.
Once 10,000 points are in your reward account, a voucher can be redeemed. There are many different vouchers available.
Experience and travel vouchers include Thomas Cook, Pizza Hut, Park resorts and Alton Towers.
High Street vouchers include B&Q, Debenhams, Argos, Next and Topshop.
Entertainment vouchers include Cineworld, HMV, Odeon and London Eye.
Those are just a few of the very many vouchers available in each category. There is also an e-code available for Amazon. Maybe you don't want to spend the points on vouchers for yourself, you could use your points to make a donation to either Cancer Research, NSPCC or UNICEF.
As I said earlier, I was a member of this panel a few years ago and regretted quitting tremendously. It may seem a lot of hard work for £1.60 a week, but once you have accustomed yourself to the way in which to scan each page, a system is easy to make, making things so much easier. If you have children it might be a good idea to get them in on the scanning too. Kacie can't scan, but she does help me. Our system works by me scanning the pages, then Kacie passing me each item out of the carrier bag, I will scan it then put it away. I personally feel it makes packing the shopping away less of a chore. If I'm still part of the panel when Kacie gets older then I'm sure she will love scanning the shopping while I put it away, and then when she's even older I can just leave her to it and stick my feet up.
I've only had to contact shop and scan when my welcome pack was missing my clicker. I rang them up and explained that I didn't receive it and they sent me a replacement that day and I received it a couple of days later. It didn't feel like I was hassling them, and they responded immediately which cannot be said for other panel groups!
Watching the point accumulate is quite addictive, I am saving the points up until nearer Christmas time then redeeming them in one go. Money making for special occasions is quite important for me, and this is, by far, the best and easiest way of making a few pennies.
If you get a chance to join, please do. You won't be disappointed!