Walmart Testing Truly Mobile Shopping, Scanning Items with Your Smartphone - The UpStream

Walmart Testing Truly Mobile Shopping, Scanning Items with Your Smartphone

posted Tuesday Sep 4, 2012 by Nicholas DiMeo

Walmart Testing Truly Mobile Shopping, Scanning Items with Your Smartphone

Need a reason to actually shop at a Walmart? How about the fact they're testing out some cool new tech? It seems like most people would need more convincing than just that to step foot into the retail giant, so allow me to elaborate. Walmart is currently testing out a new way to shop and pay for your items throughout its store just by scanning the UPC code with your smartphone.

The system, being tested in a store in Rogers, Arkansas, lets shoppers scan any item with their iPhone (for now) and take their items to a self-checkout counter. Shoppers can also set up shopping lists, check product availability and even put items into bags during their trip, all before heading to the self-checkout lane to finish the purchase. This new "Scan & Go" way of shopping is said to reduce not only checkout times, but costs for Walmart as well. Of course, we all know "costs" mean "employee salaries" in this world, where there would probably be less staff on floor, leaving the machines to checkout customers.

So far, only a select number of Walmart employees with iPhones were able to play with new shopping method. As you'd imagine, mobile shopping, while very cool and innovative, poses several alarming questions. We raise the red flags and analyze it all after the break.

This brand new system could definitely decrease wait times and make shopping much easier for those who know what they're looking for and want to get in and out. Paul Weitzel, a partner at Willard Bishop, a retail consulting firm, said,

All of the effort is to speed your way through the checkout so that we can reduce costs and improve the shopping experience. With smartphones and improved technology we're only going to see more of this.

Weitzel has a very valid point. This certainly seems like a natural transition as we move forward with technology at a rapid rate. It also cuts down on employee wages, specifically, cashiers. Walmart already gets a bad name for, among other things, extremely long and painful wait times at the checkout lanes. Sometimes only three or four lanes will be open in one of their superstores that have up to 30 lanes.

However, there are several issues I see with this tech, especially at Walmart. With the amount of theft that already plagues the store, I could see shoplifting drastically increase with the addition of Scan & Go in a more populated area. With only the elderly person at the front door, there isn't much of a checking system in place and I don't think Walmart could really rely on the "honor system" to get them through this one. TVs obviously wouldn't just be able to walk out the door but the retailer carries a ridiculous amount of small, high-dollar items that can fit into pockets or the bottom of the shopper's bag.

Also, given the fact that very few Walmart stores currently have self-checkout lanes, along with gauging the tech-knowledge of the store's general shopper demographic, I could only imagine a line out the door at customer service. There would be complaints and problems by customers who were simply outsmarted by their smartphone. It may actually cause Walmart to merely shift where they spend their payroll, from cashiers to security and customer service staff instead.

All of this, for right now, is speculation. Walmart has not commented on what they will be doing with the test results. Other retailers have tried and tested a similar mobile scanning method but have yet to implement it except in a handful of expensive designer outlets. What do you think of the idea? Is the tech cool, but simply unable to be implemented in a real-world scenario? Do you think the stealing would get out of control? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.


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posted Wednesday Feb 6, 2019 by Dbroun

Walmart is a well known seller that has its store in the different countries. Therefore, it would not have been possible for it to stay in touch with its employees without using Walmart One, a site that enables employee login much easily.

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