Walmart Testing Self-Scanning And Checkout By Smartphone: Yes, Again

If you’d rather not face another long checkout line at Walmart, the mega-retailer may soon have a solution for you: It has resumed tests of an app that would let customers scan items as they shop, using either a handheld scanner or a smartphone app.

Shop, scan, avoid checkout lines

Walmart is currently testing its Scan & Go mobile app in a few states. Here’s how it works: Shoppers use either an app on their phones or a store-issued scanner to scan items as they walk around the store, probably putting them directly in bags instead of bagging them later.

When they’re ready to check out, shoppers bring their pre-scanned items to a self-checkout register, scanning a single barcode on the kiosk to purchase all items in the cart. They can also register a credit card with the Scan & Go app to pay instantly without even having to wait in the self-checkout line.

They show an e-receipt bar code on the phone’s screen to one of the yellow-smocked customer hosts posted at the store’s exit, who checks over the contents of the cart or bag.

There are just a handful of test stores, and they’re located in Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, South Dakota, and Texas.

Budgeting on the fly

One shopper at a Texas test store pointed out that the app helps her to stay within her budget, since the app totals up customers’ purchases as they’re scanned and placed inside the customer’s bag.

“I’m starting to budget, so I’m only getting things that are necessary. So if you’re on a budget like I am, then I think it’s perfect for that,” she told the Waxahachie Daily Light.

“It’s kind of like ‘The Jetsons’,” another shopper observed.

Here we go again

This may sound familiar. It’s similar to the concept behind Amazon’s planned Amazon Go convenience store, sure, and Walmart is also using a similar technology in its Sam’s Club chain of warehouse clubs.

Oh, and Walmart tested a similar system using the same Scan & Go app in a few hundred stores beginning in 2012. That experiment ultimately failed because shoppers found the system confusing, Walmart told the Associated Press a few years later.

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