Daily Finance recently published an article detailing Walmart’s test run of a “new Scan and Go System” in one of their stores in Bentonville, Arkansas. The way it works is that customers download the “Scan & Go” application on a smartphone. Once at Walmart, they scan each product they want to buy as they move throughout the store. When the customers are ready to check out, they simply have to pay at a designated station.
Walmart is testing out this service in an attempt to focus on customer intimacy. By allowing shoppers to by-pass long lines, Walmart can improve the customer’s overall shopping experience. After observing complaints from Twitter users about long lines at their stores, the app seeks to speed up the check-out process.
I believe that the “Scan and Go System” can be beneficial for the company. It will allow Walmart to learn more about its customers’ shopping habits. Walmart can know what the customer will buy before even paying for it or leaving the store, making it easier to read customer behavior. The app can also increase sales by offering instant coupons for products that are related to the ones the customer already scanned. For example, if someone scans ice cream cones, Walmart can offer a “Breyers coupon.” Another added benefit is that Walmart can cut operation costs. They can reduce or even eliminate cashiers. But eliminating cashiers brings about negative effects of the application.
Although there are many benefits that arise from the “Scan and Go System,” there are also adverse outcomes. One downfall is the inevitable loss of jobs. By eliminating the need for check-out counters, many people will lose their job. Another negative aspect is the possibility of an increase in theft. Customers scan and bag their items as they shop around the store, making it easier to avoid paying for the products by simply hiding them.
Walmart has not yet implemented the “Scan and Go System,” but Apple has introduced a similar approach. They created an app called “EasyPay” that allows Apple customers to make purchases straight from their smartphone without an employee. It sends the receipt directly to the person’s phone. The video below shows the ease and speed of using the application. It took the user only sixty seconds to buy an item.
Overall, I believe that the “Scan and Go System” speeds up the check-out process and provides Walmart with added benefits, but it is still missing key elements. Since the app does not allow customers to pay directly from their smartphone, it is too similar to the self-checkout lane. They still have to go to a kiosk, which is an added step. Also, not all people have smartphones, so investing in this technology will not benefit all customers. Eliminating cashiers eliminates one on one customer service, which personally makes my shopping experience positive. Mobile check-out seems to be the future of retail stores, but it will bring about a major adjustment for all customers.