A few weeks back, I heard about how Walmart has rolled out a pilot that has consumers using their iPhones/iPads for self-checkout. The Scan & Go pilot, after an initial test, is now being rolled out to 200 to of the retailer’s 4000 stores.
The idea is that consumers will scan items on their phone as they shop. It will keep a running total and when they get to the front of the store, they will pay. What’s interesting here is that they do not pay using a mobile device. The convenience is that they get to go to a faster checkout lane and then simply pay. At least in theory.
I’ve been thinking about this for a while and last time I went to my local grocery store, I actually took a minute to look at what was going on at the self-checkout. I cannot say that there was anything more convenient going on for anyone involved. I then was speaking to a colleague who spent five years as a cashier in a grocery store. She had plenty to say about her own self-checkout experiences, that includes how chaotic and frustrating the process is, even with her own knowledge of scanning items and using produce codes. If someone who has experience behind the cash struggles, it doesn’t bode well for the rest of us.
My opinion aside, initial reports are favorable about Scan & Go. Consumers are citing the ability to keep track of purchases while they shop particularly handy.
Kudos to Walmart for trying out new ways to help consumers, but I’m simply not sold. Everyone wants a faster checkout experience, but at what cost? I think there’s a lot mobile money could do to make the check out process painless for consumers that are being missed here as all the players in the MCX Alliance work on getting it off the ground.