Thursday, March 21, 2013

Walmart to expand iPhone-based 'Scan & Go' self-checkout system to nearly triple the number of stores

Walmart said on Wednesday that it is nearly tripling the number of U.S. stores that are participating in "Scan & Go," a pilot program that allows shoppers to scan items with their iPhones and pay at self-checkout counters.

The pilot, which began near the giant retailer's home office in Bentonville, Ark. in late 2012, then expanded to Atlanta. Currently in about 70 outlets, the program will soon be in over 200 stores, the company said. That is still only a small fraction of Walmart's over 4,000 U.S. stores.

An Android version is nearing release, Walmart said.

Gibu Thomas, senior vice president of mobile and digital at Walmart Global eCommerce, said:
We want our customer feedback to dictate the experience. You'll see this roll out to more markets.
Thomas added that over half of the Walmart shoppers who have tried the "Scan & Go" feature have used it more than once.

Similar to self-checkout aisles at other retailers, such as grocery stores, Walmart's "Scan & Go" program eschews the need for cashiers. However, rather than having to scan items at the aisle, customers can pre-scan their items as they go. The app tracks the purchase total, as well, so there is no surprise when checkout time comes.

As part of the expansion, Walmart is bringing "Scan & Go" to a dozen more markets: Denver, Colo.; Phoenix, Ariz.; Omaha, Neb.; Dallas and Austin, Texas; Oklahoma City and Tulsa, Okla.; Wyoming; Bozeman, Mont.; Seattle, Wash.; San Jose, Calif.; and Portland, Ore.

In addition to a traditional paper receipt, "Scan & Go" users can get an electronic receipt. Walmart has hinted digital coupons may be coming soon. For now, don't expect to use the iPhone's Passbook app: Customers still must use traditional methods when checking out.

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