Will new Scan & Go tech turbocharge Sam’s checkouts?
This spring, Sam’s Club will begin piloting an upgrade to its Scan & Go technology that is meant to enable customers to scan purchases even faster while they shop.
The new solution uses machine learning and computer vision to identify products when a shopper points their smartphone at them, according to TechCrunch. In Sam’s Club’s standard app, users are required to find a barcode on the product and scan it before putting it into their cart. The item is then added to their digital cart so they can pay via app. The ability of customers to scan each item without flipping them around to search for a barcode cuts down demonstrably on the time it takes.
A demonstration video indicates that on a test item, the new app takes only 3.4 seconds to scan, down from 9.3 seconds when a customer has to search for the barcode. The technology came out of the Sam’s Club Now high-tech test store in Dallas, which opened last year. The first tests of the new technology will be at this store.
Scan & Go technology has proven a success for Sam’s Club, a warehouse club retailer owned by Walmart, despite its continued failure to catch on with customers at its parent company’s main brand stores. Limited adoption may be due, in part, to the perception of shoppers that scanning item after item is more of a chore than a convenience.
The upgraded scanning feature brings Scan & Go closer to resembling the Just Walk Out technology that Amazon has been rolling out in its Go concept convenience stores. Utilizing the processing power of people’s individual smartphones, rather than requiring a full tech stack at the shelf level to identify items and tie them to customers, could make the enhanced Scan & Go more scalable and affordable than Just Walk Out technology.
But there’s a concern surrounding the reliability of the computer vision-based Scan & Go. Whereas a barcode is definitively tied to a product, the new solution’s efficacy depends on it being able to consistently identify products correctly.
- Sam’s Club to test new Scan & Go system that uses computer vision instead of barcodes – TechCrunch
- Walmart drops scan and go tech again – RetailWire
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: Will Sam’s computer-vision enhanced Scan & Go technology achieve a successful level of adoption among Sam’s Club members? How does this new technology stack up against other automated checkout technology solutions available in the market?