Posted by Mark J. Miller on September 5, 2012 11:58 AM
Smartphones can do plenty of things. Now retailers are going to put them to work for them. Don’t feel like waiting in line at Walmart? Get yourself an iPhone.
The retail and technology giants have partnered up to create an app that is now being tested, one that will allow consumers to scan goods onto their iPhones and pay for them in a self checkout line, Reuters reports.
Walmart already offers a mobile app (at right) that can scan barcodes and check prices, along with a shopping list and basket, so self-checkouts are a natural extension as the mobile wallet business takes off, along with its @WalmartLabs R&D team exploring social and mobile commerce products and digital innovations such as semantic search.
The retailer promised earlier this year that it would put in more self checkout lanes into its stores as well as Sam’s Clubs, the wire service notes. If the test works out, the test will likely expand beyond Apple devices to Android and other mobile platforms. Apple's former retail chief is also bringing mobile self-checkouts to his new employer, JCPenney.
The virtual checkout test is being conducted in the company’s hometown of Rogers, Ark., Reuters reports, by Walmart employees who already own iPhones.
The hope, on Walmart’s part, is for consumers to do a little more of the checking out on their own, which means, of course, the company could lose a few employees and save a lot of cash. “For every 1 second in average transaction time at the Walmart U.S. chain, the company has said that it spends about $12 million in cashier wages,” Reuters reports.
An email obtained by the wire service also showed that Walmart was attempting to rope in employees’ friends and family that had iPhones to help out with the test, though the company wouldn’t confirm that the test was occurring at all.