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Wal-Mart testing iPhone-assisted self-checkout technology

updated 07:46 pm EDT, Fri August 31, 2012

Test limited to Rogers, AR; no immediate plans for expansion

Wal-Mart is in the process of testing an iPhone checkout system. The technology allows shoppers to scan items using their iPhones and pay at a self-checkout counter, a procedure that could reduce checkout times and reduce associated labor costs. A Wal-Mart super center in Rogers, AR near the company's headquarters was selected for employees to participate in the test. Wal-Mart is hoping that the move could save a portion of the $12 million spent in cashier wages every second at its US stores.

"We're continually testing new and innovative ways to serve customers and enhance the shopping experience in our stores," said Wal-Mart spokesman David Tovar. The test does not allow users to pay with their phones. The application transfers the customer-scanned item list to the checkout lane, and the shoppers complete the sale using the normal process.

The Wal-Mart test is limited to one store, but the company is seeking participants beyond its staff to test the technology. Employees have been asked to reach out to trusted friends and family to assist with the test.

By Electronista Staff


  1. apostle

    Junior Member

    Joined: 04-16-08

    >'Employees have been asked to reach out to trusted friends and family'<

    What "cost effective" method will be used to ensure that everything in the shopping cart has been scanned?


  1. Malcolm Owen

    Electronista Staff

    Joined: 07-18-12

    I remember my local Safeway (before being rebranded to another chain) testing out handheld barcode scanners used in effectively the same way a number of years ago. Users of the system would occasionally be asked to have their items rescanned through a checkout to make sure everything went through correctly. It could be that they will employ a similar "loss prevention" system.

    The system was eventually ripped out due to shopper confusion and massive amounts of theft. Rarely anyone ended up using it. It was shortly after replaced by self-scan checkouts with a member of staff monitoring a bank of them.

  1. Wiskedjak

    Posting Junkie

    Joined: 06-04-02

    Costco has people at the exit who check the contents of your cart against the items on your receipt. You could have a check-out/verification/de-magnetization lane specifically for people who use this service; yes, it's still a line, but it would move much faster than a typical check-out line, since the payment process is removed.

  1. sunman42

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: 11-09-11

    Great, let's eliminate more of the lowest paying jobs in America, so those folks can move up to... unemployment. Here's hoping the experiment fails.

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