Walmart launches mobile checkout (WMT)

Daniel Keyes

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Walmart is testing its “Check Out With Me” program, which enables shoppers to check out with a roaming store associate rather than a traditional cashier, according to a company blog post. Store associates in the program are armed with Bluetooth printers for receipts as well as mobile devices for scanning.

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The technology aims to make the shopping experience as convenient as possible by allowing customers to flag down a store associate who has the technology, have them scan their products, and pay with a credit card before leaving. The program is being tested in the “Lawn & Garden Centers” at over 350 Walmart locations, and the retailer plans to enlist its current employees in the program rather than hire new associates, TechCrunch reports.

Check Out With Me is meant for lawn and garden consumers specifically, but may hold value for many more shoppers.

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  • Although Check Out With Me is expressly intended for garden sections, Walmart could expand the program to entire stores in the future to offer a faster shopping experience. If Walmart deployed employees equipped with the technology throughout its many aisles, shoppers would be able to avoid lines in favor of faster checkout. Walmart would likely need to establish a maximum number of scannable items for the program, as a store associate scanning 20 items with their mobile device probably wouldn't save any time, but, with the correct parameters, Check Out With Me could help make brick-and-mortar shopping more attractive.

Fast mobile checkout may be a better choice than shopper-driven smartphone checkout as retailers look to fight the convenience of e-commerce. 

Unlike smartphone checkout, which has been favored by retailers as of late, employee-controlled mobile checkout doesn't require shoppers to do more work — scanning their own products — than they would otherwise. Mobile checkout could be more convenient for shoppers, so retailers may want to invest in it instead as they try to compete with online shopping’s ability to save consumers time.

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