What’s the worst part about shopping? Well, besides not finding what you want on the shelf or having to pay more than you want to, many people would answer that long lines at the checkout are the bane of any retail experience. Walmart is trying to carve into those wait times with a new iPhone app it’s testing that would allow customers to scan their items in the aisles as they shop, and then simply pay at a self-checkout counter when they’re done.
The new way to shop is called “Scan & Go,” and is currently in the testing phase. Employees with iPhones have been trying the system out at the store’s supercenter near its company headquarters in Arkansas, reports Reuters.
The idea is that the faster customers can move through their shopping experience, the happier they’ll be and the store can also reduce costs. Self-checkout kiosks mean a cashier doesn’t have to be tied down or have to scan items one at a time and bag them. And not having so many cashiers to pay could save Walmart tons of money.
“We’re continually testing new and innovative ways to serve customers and enhance the shopping experience in our stores,” said Walmart spokesman David Tovar.
Here’s how it would work, if the app moves beyond the testing phase and into the real life shopping experience: Shoppers scan products with their phone and put them into bags as they browse the store, and then the information is transmitted to the self-checkout system. Once you’ve arrived at the kiosk, the app lets it know how much you’ve scanned and you simply pay there.
There would likely have to be a way for a customer to un-scan their item if they decided not to buy it after all, and some way for employees to check a shoppers bagged items against what they paid for.
So far the test seems limited to only one store, but Walmart has reportedly reached out to employees to ask them to spread the search for participants to friends and family.