Walmart has expanded its use of the "Scan & Go" iPhone app from a single-store test to 40 locations in the Denver area. Shoppers who download the app can scan items with their phones as they walk the aisles of the store. When they're finished, they select "done shopping" and the app creates a unique QR code that is read at a self-checkout station where the customer chooses a payment option to complete the transaction, according to published reports.
Use of the app was first reported in September 2012 at a Rogers, AR Walmart store near the retailing giant's Bentonville headquarters. Walmart has made few official comments about the technology. For a local TV report about the app's use in Denver-area stores, Walmart spokesperson Ravi Jariwala said only that the app is "still in test mode."
Mobile device-based payment solutions have proliferated in recent years, with players including PayPal, the ISIS mobile wallet that is backed by three major telecommunications companies and the Google Wallet. Some of the nation's leading retailers, including Walmart, have also staked their claim in the mobile payments space with last year's formation of the Merchant Customer Exchange (MCX), although no announcement of a specific MCX app technology has yet surfaced.
The Scan & Go app, however, is one of the few that combines product scanning and simple customer-directed interactions with a self-checkout POS device. One other is the QThru self-checkout app, which underwent a six-month pilot at a Seattle-area supermarket before Myers Group, which operates a dozen retail stores in the Pacific Northwest, expanded its use to other supermarkets and hardware stores the company operates in July 2012.
For its part, Walmart has made major recent investments in self-checkout technology. In November the retailer announced plans to add 10,000 NCR SelfServ checkout lanes in 1,200 Walmart stores this year. The retailer already uses self-checkout in 1,600 of its stores, and last year it increased the number of its Sam's Club stores equipped with the technology from 80 to 300.
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