Walmart tests iPhoneassisted checkout

first_imgImagine scanning items before you put them in your shopping cart and then, when you head to the front of the store, all you need to do is pay. The process of loading items into your cart, then unloading them at a checkout line, and then loading them back into your cart again could be a thing of the past if Walmart‘s new pilot program manages to catch on.The retailer is testing a process where customers can scan individual items with their iPhone during their shopping trip, and when they’re ready to check out, that list of products is transferred to a self-checkout machine at the front of the store.Customers then complete the checkout process as normal – apply coupons, use gifts, cards, etc, and pay. The iPhone is not used in the payment process. It merely replaces the act of scanning the individual products at the register. The test, which was not made public, was discovered through a link on Survey Monkey.Walmart has self-checkout aisles in many of its thousands of stores throughout the country, but not all of them by any means. The company spends around $12 million in cashier salaries every second, on average.There are few things more frustrating than having a basket full of products that you are willing and ready to pay for, only to realize you just need to wait for the old lady with the checkbook in front of you, or to be stuck behind the guy who argues with the cashier over a 99-cent can of soup. Anything to speed up that process is no doubt a very welcome innovation.In some regions around the world (read: Japan and Korea), grocery stores have already entered the future. The idea of smartphone-assisted shopping is nothing foreign over there. In the US, though, quite the opposite is the case.Back in 2000, Priceline.com even tried to make a difference in the market, offering a very complicated “name your own price” option for buying groceries at your local supermarket. While it had a loyal following, that following was too small and the venture swiftly failed.Something like Walmart’s new iPhone test, though, does not need to attract a swell of people all at once. It is the kind of thing that can take years to catch on without costing the retailer a ton of money. In fact, it would probably start saving money very quickly. There will always be people who prefer that human interaction, but those who just want to pay and get out should have that option as well.via Reuterslast_img read more