Walmart deploying tech that lets in-store shoppers check out — on their own
Deena M. Amato-McCoy
A discount giant is helping more shoppers skip the checkout line.
Walmart is expanding the deployment of its Scan & Go mobile app, which is being tested in approximately 12 stores across Northwest Arkansas, Florida, Texas and Georgia. The chain is now rolling out the app for use in at least 10 additional locations in the Dallas-Fort Worth and Nashville markets. The stores will offer the solution by the end of the month, said Walmart spokesman Justin Rushing in an interview with Chain Store Age.
“A lot goes into the market selection, including both the commerce and customer density that make up each area,” he told Chain Store Age. “These are diverse markets to test new ideas. Our initial findings will determine how we will expand the program further.”
The free app allows members to scan merchandise bar codes as they move throughout store aisles and add merchandise to their shopping carts. The app also keeps a running total and itemized list of merchandise and prices, and lets shoppers checkout directly through their smartphone.
In addition to internal metrics, Walmart will also rely on customer feedback to learn from the test.
“This is not the complete solution, it is only a part of multichannel process in the front end that will ultimately help customers shop the way they want to,” Rushing said.
“By listening to customers, we will be able to find what they want in terms of speed and convenience, and in the end provide a faster shopping experience,” he added. “By testing different things, we can determine the future of Scan & Go. Knowing this is our entry into Scan & Go, we want to make sure we get it just right before moving on across the chain.”
Walmart has also redesigned the participating stores’ front ends to be an “express bullpen area” where shoppers can show their order barcode to an associate before leaving. Once scanned, they are approved to pay for goods through the app.
“They also use this area to bag groceries, and complete confirmations of fresh groceries,” Rushing said.
For example, throughout their shopping trip, customers can weigh their fresh merchandise on scales located across the store. They type in the variety of produce into the app, along with its weight. The app serves up a price that is confirmed at the checkout bullpen.
While Rushing didn’t share further expansion plans, he did say the company is committed to the technology. “We do not yet have any plans to expand beyond where we are going this month,” he said. “For now, we are focused on getting the new technology more saturated in these two markets, and then will drive the experience so our customers can tell us what working best.”
Scan & Go is an example of how Walmart is testing new solutions to streamline its customer experiences. The program comes on the heels of Sam’s Club’s chainwide rollout of the technology last fall. Upon launching the technology, there was a 10% spending increase among app shoppers compared to those who don’t use it. Nearly 80% of shoppers who try Scan & Go use it again within 90 days, according to Sam's Club.