Walmart is currently testing a new in store Scan & Go pay system for use exclusively with the iPhone. The new system will allow shoppers to scan items as they go around the store, put them in their basket or trolley then checkout simply by scanning their iPhone at a special self-checkout counter; the news comes from a report by Reuters.
If the "Scan & Go" test by the world's largest retailer is successful, it has the potential to change the way people shop and pay, making the process more personal and potentially faster. Earlier this week, Walmart invited employees with Apple Inc iPhones to participate in a test at a Walmart supercenter in Rogers, Arkansas, near the company's headquarters, according to a form on the Survey Monkey website.
The test comes months after Walmart said that it would add more self-checkout lanes at its Walmart and Sam's Club stores as it continues to look for ways to lower costs and prices for its shoppers.
The system works as a self-scanning system, shoppers go around the store as normal but instead of just dropping items into their trolley, they scan each item first with their iPhone first. Then they can put the scanned items straight into bags in their trolley or basket. When they have completed their shopping, they go to an express checkout and the app on the iPhone transfers the purchased item list to the checkout machine. Customers can then pay as normal using the usual checkout payment methods. As of yet, you can’t use your iPhone to pay for your shopping but maybe it could be added in the future if Apple ever introduces NFC or an equivalent payment system to the iPhone.
Of course let’s not get carried away with the thought that Walmart is investing huge sums of money to give customers a better shopping experience. Walmart also stands to gain massively if it decides to roll out the system across its huge number of stores. If more shoppers scan their own items and make their own automated payments, Walmart could save millions of dollars in cashier wages; it currently pays out around $12 million in cashier wages every second across its stores in the United States. This is probably not great news if you are a cashier for Walmart.
Would you consider using a system like this if you were doing a reasonably large shop at Walmart?