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.