Walmart Testing iPhone-Based Self-Checkout System for Retail Stores

MacRumors

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Original poster
Apr 12, 2001
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Reuters reports that retail giant Walmart is currently testing a new "Scan & Go" service at one Arkansas store that allows iPhone users to scan items with their device as they shop and then proceed to a self-checkout station on their way out of the store to complete their purchase. The report points to a survey Walmart is using to gather feedback on the initiative.
We are conducting a study to assess the usability of the Walmart iPhone app's new Scan & Go feature. Scan & Go enables you to scan products with your phone and bag them while shopping in a Walmart retail store, and then use the Self-Checkout at the front of the store. This survey includes questions to help us determine if you qualify for an interview session. We are simply trying to get feedback from real people on whether this new system is user-friendly, and we think you will find participating in this study fun!



Walmart's test sessions were held earlier this week, with participants being compensated with a $100 payment and a $25 Walmart gift card for the one-hour sessions.

Details on how exactly the purchasing process works remain scant, but allowing users to scan their entire orders before approaching the checkout stand could in many cases result in significant time savings during busy shopping periods.

Article Link: Walmart Testing iPhone-Based Self-Checkout System for Retail Stores
 

The LPT

macrumors regular
Mar 8, 2010
174
0
it could be a good thing. That is until someone gets arrested for stealing a 1 dollar item, because they forgot to press "PAY NOW". ;)
 

chrmjenkins

macrumors 603
Oct 29, 2007
5,322
154
CA
Sounds like the perfect feature to deploy to a customer base with below average intelligence and technical inclination.
 

Small White Car

macrumors G4
Aug 29, 2006
10,899
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Washington DC
Our grocery store already does this with custom scanners so I assume it would work exactly the same with an iPhone as the scanner.

Not really a complicated difference.

(But don't let real-world examples stop MR posters from telling you why this couldn't work. By all means, carry on. )
 

bushido

Suspended
Mar 26, 2008
8,070
2,746
Germany
hows self-checkout working in the US? its pretty pointless here in Germany. its either closed or an employee watches over you anyway so they might as well do it themselves lol

poor ppl in retail
 

184550

Guest
May 8, 2008
1,980
2
Sounds like the perfect feature to deploy to a customer base with below average intelligence and technical inclination.
How many of those people can afford iPhones in the first place though?

I have no doubts that if such a system is put into place that theft/ shoplifting/ 'I-thought-I-paid-for-it's' will increase exponentially and cause problems. But given Wal-Marts clientele, I think a majority will be 'iPhoned' out from the get go.
 

D.T.

macrumors G3
Sep 15, 2011
9,418
7,548
Vilano Beach, FL
Note exactly the same as this retail model, but when we flew back from NYC a few months ago, several of the restaurants/bars in the airport had iPad based self-service right at the table. In fact, the first screen you set your flight so that the app could notify you of the status and time (and even do a little upsell, "You've got time for a cup of coffee").

It was pretty slick, we ordered a couple of beers, swiped our card, and a few minutes later we had our order. :)
 

jonprocter

macrumors newbie
Aug 31, 2012
1
0
UK
In the UK Waitrose have a similar system. You pick up a PDA type thing on your way in, you walk around scan your stuff and then pay at a machine.
 

alent1234

macrumors 603
Jun 19, 2009
5,659
122
How many of those people can afford iPhones in the first place though?

I have no doubts that if such a system is put into place that theft/ shoplifting/ 'I-thought-I-paid-for-it's' will increase exponentially and cause problems. But given Wal-Marts clientele, I think a majority will be 'iPhoned' out from the get go.
apple snobbyism

i went to buy something at wal mart a few weeks back. same kind of stuff as every other store except cheaper a lot of times.

i needed a generic windshield mount for my iphone and a car charge cable
 

charlituna

macrumors G3
Jun 11, 2008
9,629
806
Los Angeles, CA
hows self-checkout working in the US? its pretty pointless here in Germany. its either closed or an employee watches over you anyway so they might as well do it themselves lol

poor ppl in retail
Here in the us it's one employee for like six stations to help with issues, take coupons, verify age for beer and smokes and works rather well when folks know what they are doing and stick to it being an express lane rather than trying to ring up a huge basket of stuff.

The bagging area is weighted to go with what you rang up so it is rather good at telling if you bagged something without scanning it. I would imagine Walmart is doing something the same to verify you paid for everything
 

charlituna

macrumors G3
Jun 11, 2008
9,629
806
Los Angeles, CA
Note exactly the same as this retail model, but when we flew back from NYC a few months ago, several of the restaurants/bars in the airport had iPad based self-service right at the table. In fact, the first screen you set your flight so that the app could notify you of the status and time (and even do a little upsell, "You've got time for a cup of coffee").

It was pretty slick, we ordered a couple of beers, swiped our card, and a few minutes later we had our order. :)
I've heard about that. It would alert you if you were getting too close to boarding time. You paid on the iPad so you don't have to wait for a heck. Sounded rather cool.
 

mazz0

macrumors 68000
Mar 23, 2011
1,574
774
Leeds, UK
Hmm, I was going to say I bet it would be very easy to forget to scan things as you just put them in your trolly, but if you're putting them into bags at the same time then that would remind you.
 

alent1234

macrumors 603
Jun 19, 2009
5,659
122
hows self-checkout working in the US? its pretty pointless here in Germany. its either closed or an employee watches over you anyway so they might as well do it themselves lol

poor ppl in retail
in the US its faster going to the cashier a lot of times. the system is either too slow because you have to follow the exact process or a lot of people are just retarts and start pressing the wrong button or just take too long
 

mazz0

macrumors 68000
Mar 23, 2011
1,574
774
Leeds, UK
Here in the us it's one employee for like six stations to help with issues, take coupons, verify age for beer and smokes and works rather well when folks know what they are doing and stick to it being an express lane rather than trying to ring up a huge basket of stuff.

The bagging area is weighted to go with what you rang up so it is rather good at telling if you bagged something without scanning it. I would imagine Walmart is doing something the same to verify you paid for everything
It's the same here in the UK, except that some bloody annoying shops often have nobody manning the old style checkouts so you have to use the self service however much shopping you have!

It's a good question though, unless they have scales in the trollies/baskets which are then linked to your iPhone then how do they know you haven't added something without scanning it? Tags on everything that trigger an alarm when passing through the shop doors unless they've been registered as purchased in the backend DB perhaps?
 

Uncle David

macrumors member
Jun 21, 2011
71
6
At first glance it looks like a great idea. Wish there was something like that at my favorite grocery store. I already use the self-checkout. This would make it easier and faster.
 

Peel

macrumors 6502a
Aug 30, 2004
573
84
Seattle
As others have already said, similar systems are already out there in grocery stores, only now it's using your phone instead of a hand held upc scanner.
The way my grocery store does it is you scan everything as you place it in your bag, then when you get to the self check-out you place your bag on a scale. it compairs the weight of your purchases against what the predicted weight from the scanner is. I use it all the time, and seldome does it require assistance from a clerk - mostely when bulk produce that isn't individually stickered is involved, and the shopper didn't properly weigh/scan it before putting it in their bag.
 

Small White Car

macrumors G4
Aug 29, 2006
10,899
1,125
Washington DC
It's a good question though, unless they have scales in the trollies/baskets which are then linked to your iPhone then how do they know you haven't added something without scanning it? Tags on everything that trigger an alarm when passing through the shop doors unless they've been registered as purchased in the backend DB perhaps?
RFID tags.

If I scan a bag of OREOs but send a box of Captain Crunch down the conveyor belt it stops and sends it back.

Computers know everything these days.

Based on the comments it sounds like some other stores use scales, but I'm certain mine uses RFID since it does this on a conveyor belt and I don't see how it could weigh stuff while it's moving.
 

kd5jos

macrumors 6502
Oct 28, 2007
419
138
Denver, CO
Oh brother,

Okay,

A consumer goes in to WalMart, creates the bill as they shop (scans goods), pays for it, and gets ready to leave the store (so far the checkout experience is exactly like Apple). Then some idiot asks for your receipt...

A reason I shop at Apple stores is because no one bothers me, I check myself out, pay for it, and leave, with no interaction (no one slowing me down).

WalMart however needs to add a step that includes treating everyone like a thief. Unless that goes away, it's just another novelty while shopping...