Walmart-owned Sam’s Club will soon open a cashier-free store concept that rivals Amazon Go.
Walmart unveiled a new concept called Sam’s Club Now Monday that aims to bring a new shopping experience powered by smartphones into the competitive retail world. The store will be in Dallas, and at 32,000 square feet is huge compared to Amazon Go locations, which range between 1,200 and 2,300 square feet.
The technology is a little different too. As demonstrated in a video for the store, users scan each item with their smartphones through an app. Then, when the trip is complete employees scan QR codes on the shoppers’ phones and they are out the door.
While Sam’s Club Now removes the cashier from the equation, shoppers still have to scan the individual items. With Amazon Go, customers pick up items off the shelves and walk out the door, and the items are then charged to their Amazon accounts.
In a blog post, Jamie Iannone, CEO of Samsclub.com and executive vice president of membership and technology, said the Dallas store, which is about a quarter the size of the typical Sam’s Club, will be a testing ground for all types of new technology being developed.
“At its core, Sam’s Club Now will be a technology lab that doubles as a live, retail club,” Iannone wrote. “It’s where we will incubate, test and refine technologies to help define the future of retail.”
The company did not give an opening date for the store, though Iannone wrote “we’re very close to opening this location.”
In addition to cashier-less technology, Walmart is also working on smart shopping lists, augmented reality item displays and electronic shelf pricing labels that update automatically. The store features more than 700 cameras, which Iannone said will help the company find new ways to manage inventory. Sam’s Club Now will feature a one-hour turnaround for people to pick up items after placing an order on the app.
As Walmart rolls out this new store concept, Amazon Go has been growing rapidly in recent months. It is now up to six stores in three cities — Seattle, Chicago and San Francisco, with more on the way.