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Walmart testing customer self-checkout with Apple's iPhone

post #1 of 24
Thread Starter 
Mega-retailer Walmart has begun testing a new "Scan & Go" system that allows customers to pay for items with their iPhone at a self-checkout counter.

Details on the new pilot program were revealed on Friday by Reuters, which revealed that some Walmart iPhone owning employees were invited to participate in a trial at a Walmart supercenter in Rogers, Ark. Allowing users to scan their own items to pay for them is projected to save the company millions of dollars.

Many Walmart locations already have self-checkout lanes that feature traditional barcode scanning hardware with touchscreen kiosks allowing customers to complete their own transactions.

The new system would take self-checkout a step further, allowing customers to scan products with their phone as they are placed into a shopping bag. A complete list of items could then be presented at the self-checkout counter with the iPhone application, removing the need to scan all of the items at the time of checkout.

Apple launched its own self-checkout functionality through its Apple Store application for iOS last November. The "Easy Pay" feature allows customers to pay for an item on their own, direct from an iPhone, while in a retail store.

The self-checkout option was initially ridiculed as "Easy Theft," leading some to suggest it could cause problems for Apple's Stores. However, the system was said to have gotten off to a strong start during the holiday shopping season last year.
post #2 of 24

Oh, hello, my vision for the future that I've had for a little over three years and just reiterated on the forums here yesterday. How are you doing?

😂

Originally posted by Marvin

Even if [the 5.5” iPhone exists], it doesn’t deserve to.
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Originally posted by Marvin

Even if [the 5.5” iPhone exists], it doesn’t deserve to.
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post #3 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

Oh, hello, my vision for the future that I've had for a little over three years and just reiterated on the forums here yesterday. How are you doing?

😂

That's some eerie timing between your post and this article. Do you work for Wal-mart?

post #4 of 24

This sounds like an awful idea from a merchandise-theft perspective.

 

"Hey! I've got a cart full of stuff--yeah, it's $150 in groceries and food, and I scanned it on my iPhone! Nah, nevermind that $300 iPod buried in bags and stuff.. I'm honest! I scanned it!"

post #5 of 24
Now this makes more sense than some articles.

You grab some empty bags, scan and fill them as you go. Get to the self checkout where perhaps he iPhone gives a barcode that transfers it all to the checkout system. Show your Id for the liquor, add your coupons. Put your bags on the scales to be verified they weigh an appropriate amount and then pay as usual.

That actually makes sense. You might have to do something's like by weight produce at the checkout but your milk, toothpaste etc is done.

If they are really smart the app will include being able to make a shopping list that will alert you if you forgot something, show you when your favorite items or brands are on sale, etc

A non tech's thoughts on Apple stuff 

(She's family so I'm a little biased)

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A non tech's thoughts on Apple stuff 

(She's family so I'm a little biased)

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post #6 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by Shidell View Post

! Nah, nevermind that $300 iPod buried in bags and stuff.. I'm honest! I scanned it!"

If a store is stupid enough to put something like that where customers can just grab it, they deserve having it stolen.

And before you say , but at Apple

1. The serialized stuff can't be self rung up
2. They caught the kid that tried to fake buy with his iPhone

A non tech's thoughts on Apple stuff 

(She's family so I'm a little biased)

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A non tech's thoughts on Apple stuff 

(She's family so I'm a little biased)

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post #7 of 24
Originally Posted by LighteningKid View Post
That's some eerie timing between your post and this article. Do you work for Wal-mart?

 

Oh, heavens no. I've given speeches on that idea years back, and I'm certainly not the only one. I'd say I'd like to think I work for a place benefiting the industry (as a slam to Walmart), but apparently they're the ones pushing it along… 

 

Mixed up world… 


Originally Posted by Shidell View Post
…nevermind that $300 iPod buried in bags and stuff.. I'm honest! I scanned it!"

 

Even the discs in the $1 DVD bin have a metal bar in the case that alerts the system when you walk out with one. No one's stealing an iPod, particularly since they're all behind glass, without someone knowing at exit or during the process via camera.

Originally posted by Marvin

Even if [the 5.5” iPhone exists], it doesn’t deserve to.
Reply

Originally posted by Marvin

Even if [the 5.5” iPhone exists], it doesn’t deserve to.
Reply
post #8 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by Shidell View Post

This sounds like an awful idea from a merchandise-theft perspective.

"Hey! I've got a cart full of stuff--yeah, it's $150 in groceries and food, and I scanned it on my iPhone! Nah, nevermind that $300 iPod buried in bags and stuff.. I'm honest! I scanned it!"
They're still going to have theft scanners when you walk out that will trigger if theres something in your cart that wasn't checked out. I don't see this new payment option as a bad thing or as something that will cause an increase in theft.
post #9 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

Oh, heavens no. I've given speeches on that idea years back, and I'm certainly not the only one. I'd say I'd like to think I work for a place benefiting the industry (as a slam to Walmart), but apparently they're the ones pushing it along… 

Mixed up world… 

It actually makes a lot of sense.

Walmart has a real image problem between the whole 'We hate unions’, 'killer of the mom and pop store' and sites like this

They want to improve their image come off more hip and cool so they sell the iPhone etc. and they are showing the guts to get out this hip, cool new shopping system that everyone else is too chicken shit to try out.

A non tech's thoughts on Apple stuff 

(She's family so I'm a little biased)

Reply

A non tech's thoughts on Apple stuff 

(She's family so I'm a little biased)

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post #10 of 24
Originally Posted by charlituna View Post
Walmart has a real image problem between the whole 'We hate unions’, 'killer of the mom and pop store' and sites like this
They want to improve their image come off more hip and cool so they sell the iPhone etc. and they are showing the guts to get out this hip, cool new shopping system that everyone else is too chicken shit to try out.

 

Well, I care about them not just improving their image but also improving their actual everything in the background, as well. That conversation can get real heated real fast, so I'll leave it at that.

 

And as for the thread topic, I'm ecstatic that a corporation this large is the one to try it out first. Should they do it right, it'll give some serious penetration to the idea.

Originally posted by Marvin

Even if [the 5.5” iPhone exists], it doesn’t deserve to.
Reply

Originally posted by Marvin

Even if [the 5.5” iPhone exists], it doesn’t deserve to.
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post #11 of 24

I've long since said that EasyPay, Paypal and the like are going to disrupt retail.

 

I think the secret sauce here is that Walmart already requires all their suppliers to RFID their pallets.   Next up: RFID tagging for all items.  All you need is a usable way for the customer to buy the items - ie, Easypay on iDevice.

 

With some RFID built-in it would make the "EasyPay == EasyTheft" problem into a non-issue or at least reduce theft to a manageable cost that could be reduced later with better process innovations.

post #12 of 24

IBM has had a very of this in their demonstration lab in Austin for many years - the twist there is that every item has an RFID tag embedded in the UPC code such that verification of the contents of the cart against the hand held scanner list of what you scanned as you place it in the cart can be verified without any need to weigh anything. Cost of the RFID tag needs to drop to a point where it is effectively no extra cost - such as described here: http://www.myprintresource.com/article/10265568/digitally-printed-rfid-tags-revolutionize-consumer-markets (although I think their $0.1 and $0.3 was perhaps meant to be $0.01 and $0.03 as it is being compared to traditional RFID tags at $0.15 per tag. 

post #13 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by Shidell View Post

This sounds like an awful idea from a merchandise-theft perspective.

 

"Hey! I've got a cart full of stuff--yeah, it's $150 in groceries and food, and I scanned it on my iPhone! Nah, nevermind that $300 iPod buried in bags and stuff.. I'm honest! I scanned it!"

 

Really no different from the self serve checkout lanes that exist now.  If you were planning to steal something, you can just move it past the scan station station without logging it.  And then, just like with the iPhone system, the store has other security measures in place.

They spoke of the sayings and doings of their commander, the grand duke, and told stories of his kindness and irascibility.
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They spoke of the sayings and doings of their commander, the grand duke, and told stories of his kindness and irascibility.
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post #14 of 24

I like the idea of being able to pre-scan for self check out. Too bad they aren't up to emailing the receipt, now that is killer!

post #15 of 24
Originally Posted by WisdomSeed View Post
I like the idea of being able to pre-scan for self check out. Too bad they aren't up to emailing the receipt, now that is killer!

 

Once the system is up and running, I imagine that will be a cinch to add. Make it something gorgeous looking, something simple, and have a simple address from which it's sent so that we can create a rule that makes a folder of receipts in Mail. Of course then we'll also have our bank account's balance changes via e-mail, too… 

Originally posted by Marvin

Even if [the 5.5” iPhone exists], it doesn’t deserve to.
Reply

Originally posted by Marvin

Even if [the 5.5” iPhone exists], it doesn’t deserve to.
Reply
post #16 of 24

Even if you forget about the theft factor, do they realize the intelligence level of people who shop at Wal-Mart? I don't think that any of them are smart enough to figure this out.

 

Not to mention that Walmart is one of America's most evil companies. You can see it for yourself in the documentary "Wal-Mart: The High Cost of Low Price".

post #17 of 24

Anything would be better than having to stand in a cashier's line at Wal-Mart.  I can think of few experiences more painful, except standing in the customer service line at Wal-Mart with a return item.  If you play your cards right, you might be lucky enough to be behind the person with a cart full of clothes and have the rewarding experience to watch the cashier meticulously fold each shirt in hair-pulling detail.  If you are really lucky, some items will be missing tags and you get to wait another 20 minutes for the runner to scour the store for like-items and report back with their findings.  To really put a cherry on top of the Wal-Mart experience, you may also get to witness the customer also argues over expired coupons, balance their checkbook while paying by check with an expired license.  Ahh, good times.  

 

What was the article about again?

post #18 of 24
In the UK we've had a similar system for at least 4 years. Uses custom handheld devices in store rather than phone. Swipe your loyalty card and scan your shopping packing it as you go. They do random rescans at special checkout and if they find too much of a discrepancy you'll get rescanned every time.

Logical next step is this plan for Walmart. Tesco in UK are trialling in store spoof GPS network so their App knows where you are in store and can push offers to you as you walk past the items in the isle.
post #19 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by lukei View Post

In the UK we've had a similar system for at least 4 years. Uses custom handheld devices in store rather than phone. Swipe your loyalty card and scan your shopping packing it as you go. They do random rescans at special checkout and if they find too much of a discrepancy you'll get rescanned every time.
Logical next step is this plan for Walmart. Tesco in UK are trialling in store spoof GPS network so their App knows where you are in store and can push offers to you as you walk past the items in the isle.

 

Yep, We've had them in Netherlands for a while, too. Racks of wireless handheld scanners as you enter. You grab one that is lit up, which means it has a connection with a till. Then you scan as you go around the shop. At the end you can leave everything in your cart instead of putting it on a conveyor belt -- that's the best part. And the shop saves a load of space. You hand your scanner over and the list is automatically loaded in the till already so you are just paying and getting a receipt printout.
 
Would be cool if you could do it with your iPhone, too. I could see it being incorporated into some kind of shopping list app.
 
post #20 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by scotty321 View Post

Even if you forget about the theft factor, do they realize the intelligence level of people who shop at Wal-Mart? I don't think that any of them are smart enough to figure this out.

Not to mention that Walmart is one of America's most evil companies. You can see it for yourself in the documentary "Wal-Mart: The High Cost of Low Price".

I was thinking the same thing. There are even emails titled "people of Walmart" which are sometimes funny and sometimes gross.

Someone pretty much forced me to watch that documentary. I found a lot of the supposed information on it to be extremely slanted. The only way you can even try to make sense of the documentary is to constantly think "no other company does this", which of course is a fallacy. Now Monsanto on the other hand... They are the worlds most evil company. People here get upset over scrolling patents. Monsanto patents life! Literally!
post #21 of 24
The Stop & Shop supermarkets have been doing this for about 2 months. It works and if Walmart works the same way then there are random audits.
post #22 of 24
post #23 of 24
There are a lot of dishonest people out there and there would have to be some check and balances somewhere. I could easily stuff small items in a bag and not scan them. If Walmart has to double check things somehow, I don't see the speed savings.
post #24 of 24

I don't use self checkouts now with grocery stores -- what do we want, a PO Box a phone number and a CEO?

 

WalMart already has streamlined the path from your wallet to a trust fund babies offshore account.

 

Crap -- I think it's about time we started building pyramids and paying people a living wage to do it. Much healthier than Oxley Sarbanes "make work" or hiring your neighbor to frisk you (TSA style). In hindsight, Ancient Egyptians were far more civilized than we are today. They lasted a lot longer too.

 

People don't understand that we only need about 7% of the workforce as it is. Until we've worked out this sharing of the nation -- we can't allow too much efficiency.

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