Walmart’s checkout pilot puts shoppers in the fast lane
Walmart has had a tough time getting customers to adopt scan-and-go technology, despite its success with Sam’s Club shoppers. Now Walmart Canada is piloting a layout that re-brands the technology and reroutes shoppers in a way that could change how customers think about it.
Walmart Canada announced the pilot of a “fast lane” in its new urban supercenter concept in the Toronto Stockyards. Store visitors use scan-and-go technology with their mobile device as they shop. Then at the end of their visit, rather than going to any open checkout lane, they go through a designated fast lane. An associate checks their generated barcode receipt and customers complete their transaction via a credit card associated with their account. Fast lane associates are specially trained to manage issues that might arise during scan-and-go transactions.
Moving scan-and-go traffic into its own lane seems to bring together tactics used in earlier iterations of checkout optimization — express lanes and dedicated self-checkout — with the new tech innovation.
Retailers of all sizes have been experimenting with in-store checkout as they try to streamline an often frustrating part of the shopping experience.
Amazon.com’s automated checkout concept, Amazon Go, represents perhaps the most radical rethinking of the checkout process. Questions remain, however, about the extent to which the company’s Just Walk Out technology can scale.
Amazon announced in May that it would be opening a fourth Amazon Go location in San Francisco, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.
Other smaller retailers have likewise been exploring innovations to stop the in-store point of sale from bottlenecking. Global sporting goods retailer Decathlon, for instance, recently opened a concept store in California — its first in the U.S. — in which associates walk the store equipped with Apple devices that allow customers to check out without waiting at a central cash wrap.
Meanwhile at Sam’s Club, where the Scan & Go app has proven successful, the chain is trying to reduce transaction times. Earlier this year, Sam’s began piloting a solution that identifies a product without a customer needing to search for a barcode.
- Walmart tests new ‘fast lane’ checkout system to give shoppers a speedy exit – Walmart
- Fourth Amazon Go store to open in San Francisco – San Francisco Chronicle
- Apple owns the checkout at Decathlon’s sporting goods store – RetailWire
- Will new Scan & Go tech turbocharge Sam’s checkouts? – RetailWire
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: Will Walmart’s new checkout approach overcome the retailer’s previous difficulties with getting customers to adopt scan-and-go? Do you see this front-end layout replacing self-scan checkout entirely or will “fast lanes,” self-checkouts and regular checkouts all coexist?