A new Walmart just opened up a couple miles from my home. I’m not a fan of Walmart. I fought against allowing this Walmart to be built at all. Now that it’s open, though, I did go in just so I could try out the new high-tech future of shopping:
The concept is pretty simple. Using the provided scanners or the Walmart Scan & Go app on your smartphone, just scan everything as you put it in the cart. The app maintains a running total of the items in your cart. You can simply click a button to pay for your goods right from the app, and you’re done. Well, almost. You do still have to have a Walmart employee verify the receipt on your smartphone and clear you before you can leave. I’m not sure how it works with the in-store hand scanners, but I assume you would just hand the scanner over to a cashier and then pay whatever the total is.
Using the smartphone camera as a scanner worked more or less flawlessly. It quickly detected and identified the bar code and added the item to my cart. If you buy more than one of the same thing you can choose to scan each one individually, or you can just adjust the quantity in the cart after you scan the first one.
I was curious how Walmart could be sure I had scanned everything. I mean, there is a bit of an honor system in place and there was more than one occasion I threw something into the cart out of habit and had to pull it back out to scan it. Nobody is actually sifting through your cart or going through the list of items you’ve paid for in the app. They just look to see that you’ve paid and send you on your way—sort of like the useless receipt verification you’re subjected to when you try to leave Costco.
A Walmart employee explained that they conduct random periodic checks of customers to keep people honest, and suggested that there may be some customer profiling going on as well. Basically, the implication was that if someone looks “shady” they’re more likely to be singled out for a more thorough inspection. Walmart will also perform a more thorough check if you try to purchase any alcohol or age-restricted items like spray paint using the Scan & Go process.
The new and improved Walmart Scan & Go experience is currently available at only three of the Walmart stores. One in Arkansas, one in Florida, and the one near my home here in the Houston area. Walmart says that it is working on expanding to other stores, so keep your eyes open and maybe it will be available soon at a Walmart near you.
I will still gladly drive farther and pay more just so I don’t have to step foot in a Walmart or give the company any of my money. I do have to admit, though, that Scan & Go is pretty cool. I look forward to other retail chains that aren’t awful (I’m looking at you Target) adopting similar technologies to modernize my shopping experience and welcome the high-tech future of retail. Either that, or I can just continue shopping on Amazon and having items magically show up on my porch two days later.
From Forbes: Walmart Scan and Go
I recently got to use this great app in-store and it was wonderful.
No more checkout lines.
Great integration of tech into the shopping experience.