Walmart testing a new in store Scan & Go system exclusively for iPhone

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?

Source: Reuters


UK editor at iMore, mobile technology lover and air conditioning design engineer.

  • yup totally see people walking out with product they "didn't / forgot to scan"
  • omg I finally have a reason to invest into this shit! It will only take a while to get back to zero for buying the crapy rectangle thing..
  • Agreed!
  • $12 million per second on cashier wages in the USA? You must be smoking the same stuff as Rene. Here, allow me to do the math. Their are roughly 4000 Walmarts in the USA. Let's say there are 20 cashiers on duty at all times, which we know is too high of a number. That would give you 80,000 cashier seconds to divide that money into. Yeah, that's $540,000 per hour per cashier. FAIL
  • He said trolley. HA!
  • And you are using a $6.75/hr wage. Average cashier seems to make around $8.50/hr. double fail.
  • Well, with pay like that I just cannot understand why these cashiers are the most obstructive, ignorant people that I have ever met. Yes 20 is really more than double, even in Super-Walmart stores, and the Super should be used loosely. I've been in at peak times where they have had a single checkout open out of 60+ checkouts. Never mind fighting with their shopping trolley's, ahem, carts, that don't want to roll because large families seem to think that they should load all their children in, hang them on the side and overload the cart before they even put a grocery in. Of course this is merely a scheme that will Allow Walmart to reduce the cost of operating checkouts. Though it might bite them in the bum when they realize that suddenly shoppers will spot that the price on the shelf is sometimes showing 20% lower than the real price when the item is scanned. So Walmart really does cover the cost of checkout processing just through their mis-priced items which are never priced in the favor of the customer.
  • Using your numbers, I get about $333 a second in cashier wages; assuming an average of about $15 an hour including payroll taxes and all. $12,000,000 .... $333. Close enough?
  • So true!
  • The average customer can't even correctly operate/navigate the U-Scan self checkout at a Walmart. This ought to be interesting.
  • No kidding lungho! Most of the walmarts in my area completely did away with self checkout within the last year or two. I can't tell you how many times I wanted to punch those stupid self checkout machines. (scene from office space comes to mind!)
    025899: lol. 24+ checkout lanes in the walmarts near me, and the only time there's more than 4 employees working them is Christmas... Then there's only maybe 6!!!
  • Saving cashier wages means laying people off. Is job losses really worth having some fancy iPhone based technology to use? I'd rather help people keep their jobs, personally. This is a case where it's really not a good idea to replace people with technology. Even Apple technology.
  • It is not fancy technology, or even chintzy business owners, but consumer behavior, that drives this. It is hard to disagree with the principle of keeping people employed, but time and again people vote the other way with their dollars if it is even a smidgeon more convenient. Automatic Teller Machines, Pay-at-the-Pump gas station terminals, even the entire concept of online stores like Amazon or iTunes -- all of them caused significant layoffs when introduced, too, but I wager these days you use them every week. If customers perceive systems like this (by they proprietary apps like Walmart's appears to be or systemwide NFC, or whatever) solve a real problem, their introduction, and the resulting layoffs, are inevitable.
  • I like how people complain and complain as if Walmart is the "only" place to shop at. They blame the cashiers for being like only 4-6 and it's actually not their fault it's the CSM's. And to the Self Checkout's you have no idea how people are so idiotic when it comes to those things and that's why the machines keep messing up on them but hey you made a choice to go there and self check out yourself so you have no one to blame. And @jturant they're putting measures to prevent thief or forgotten scanned items when it comes to this new Scan & Go System.
  • Walmarts' self Checkouts are messed up. Their scales are always broken which messes me up I can go to my local grocery store and never had an issue. I agree ppl just don't know how to operate them and that is an issue but they do always seem to be broken there probably because ppl are letting their kids climb all over them and they do not undergo routine maintenance. I am glad they will be putting measures up so people can not steal because it does seem it would make it a bit easier and the more theft the higher the prices. Measures or no measures ppl will get around it and find ways to steal though because walmart has one of the highest theft rates maybe not $$ wise but the number of times it happens. Ppl walking around with items already bagged in their carts not a great idea. Cashiers loosing jobs not cool but its iphone only even if it goes to other phones not every one has one...also about 50% of people who do own one refuse to do any kind of currency related things on their phones yet they are to skeptical. Maybe i. The far future. But this is crazy seeing as people are getting excited for all this great new technology then complain because there is lack of job creation.. Alright alright i know i am on a vent so thats all.
  • Exactly how are the magnetic antitheft strips/tags going to be deactivated?
  • are you freaking kidding me. does anybody understand what is wrong with this country now. not only do i shop as little at walmart now as possible i never use a self checkout at any store. do they give me a discount for doing my own work? heck no If i am going to do the cashier work i should get a discount over what i would pay if I used a cashier. the other thing is that this is what is wrong with the country. corporate greed . the customer gets no service and people lose their jobs because the big corp company wants to put another nickel in their pocket. this whole mindset from CEO's is causing this country current economy problems by sending all jobs off shore and the american people have no jobs to make no money to buy their product. The whole thing makes me sick. Wal Mart with all their Chinese goods
  • You seriously consider using a self-checkout doing your "own work"? And you expect a discount if you do check yourself out? Wow. Could you be just a little more self-righteous? Ahh, it is...the stereotypical internet commenter hallmark. The "corporate greed" angle. As if businesses should exist to NOT make money. A desire to be profitable is not greed, it's business. "Businesses are trying to make money. How dare they! I'm an internet commenter and I'm angry! They are greedy! ROAR!" Please.
  • Agreed with customer service. I work at Macy's and this elderly woman said it may cost a little more but at least she is still getting customer service. A 45 min convo we had in this. You never get customer service in many stores. Macy's has employees to help you pick out your purchase and consult you everywhere. You can even call them to make an appoitment to shop with a personal shopper for free. I wish more stores had customer service. I go to target Walmart The Grocery store etc and it may take a very long time just to get some help to find someone to ask them a question. There is not even any button to press for help anymore. Even at Walgreens latley I have had a hard time getting help. I Think more employees in the departments would bring customer retention up.
  • I for one cannot wait for my local Walmart to support this system. For quite awhile I have wanted to simply scan my groceries that I am close to running out of, or have run out of, and build up a shopping list with those bar codes. Running low on bread, scan the bar code before I throw out the bag. Build up my list, then just walk into the store with all the items, walk up to the register, pay and get the hell out of there ahead of everyone else. Now if only I had one of those smart refrigerators that could read RFID information from food items, which could then report to me what items were going bad soon.
  • It does sound faster if you just need a few things...But what if you scan your bread at home and they do not have it when you get there or the posted price is different than what you scanned seeing as all Walmarts are priced different due to area. Now your taking longer...I want a Smart fridge in the worst way!
  • I don't care if this raised or lowered prices. I think this would be great at 2 in the morning when there's 15 people in line at the ONE open register. One of the reasons I will go without something I need. Cause Walmart may be open but you know it's gonna be a pain.