Walmart is deploying technology that allows shoppers to purchase items in-store without waiting in line or paying at a register, in a reminder to Amazon that competing with the giant retailer on its brick-and-mortar turf will be no easy feat.
Walmart’s “Scan & Go” app allows shoppers to scan barcodes of items they want to purchase and then click a button to pay using their smartphones. They simply have to show a digital receipt to a Walmart greeter on their way out. Shoppers without smartphones can use hand-held scanners provided in-store.
Shoppers who don’t want to link their credit cards to the app can still use it to scan items. When they’re done, they can show a barcode to a cashier and pay without going through the full checkout process.
It’s like a manual version of Amazon Go, a check-out free grocery store that launched in Amazon’s hometown of Seattle last year but remains in private beta testing limited to the company’s employees. Amazon Go relies on a series of sensors and computer vision to connect items shoppers select to their Amazon accounts. Amazon Go was supposed to open to the public early this year but the company is still working out some technical kinks.
Walmart first rolled out Scan & Go at its Sam’s Club locations in Fall of 2016. Unlike Amazon, Walmart already has the massive brick-and-mortar infrastructure that makes implementing this kind of technology relatively simple.
This week, the company is expanding Scan & Go to additional Walmart locations, according to details in the app store first spotted by Business Insider. More than a dozen stores in Texas, Florida, South Dakota, Arkansas, Georgia, and Kentucky are deploying the technology.