Employee Minnie Banda of
Iron Ridge scans an item that was purchased online for a
customer to pick up in the store Tuesday morning at
Walmart in West Bend. The items are placed in the tower
behind Banda and customers are able to enter their order
number to have the item dispensed from the tower. A
portion of the new technology allows shoppers to scan
items as they shop and pay through a mobile app.
John Ehlke/Daily News
Wal-Mart Stores Inc. representatives have incorporated
technology into the retail experience, hoping to
alleviate a concern that many consumers face: spending
time waiting to pay.
technology, named Scan & Go, has been in place for about
four weeks, and confers duties to customers that are
typically reserved for the employee. Guests can record
the items into a system that maintains the items they
selected and pay for them at several self-service
checkout counters available at the front of the store.
surveyed the customers the first weekend,” said Mike
Dooley, the store manager for West Bend. “I walked
around and talked to the customers who were using the
scanners or using the app, asking them how they liked
it, and they loved it. They liked the ease of being able
to shop and bag as they are going.”
measure began as company representatives were developing
ideas improving the consumer shopping experience.
“From our feedback from our customer surveys, checking
out and the time that it takes to check out was probably
something that we needed to address as a company,”
Dooley said. “There are a lot of different options now
for the customer to check out, much quicker, much
faster, more efficiently.”
have since adopted the system at Sam’s Club stores and
tested them in retail outlets in larger markets,
including some in Texas. Representatives are expanding
its use to Wisconsin, where it is available in Appleton
and West Bend.
paying for their items by conventional means, will
linger as the cashier scans their items, bags them and
relays to them the total price — all before charging
their cards or remitting cash.
address the issue, company executives have implemented
self-checkout stands, allowing the customers to scan and
pay for their items without the assistance of an
employee. The updated process incorporates the scanning
process into the shopping experience and segments it
from one longer period into a series of shorter time
process begins as customers enter the store and pick up
a mobile scanner. They also have the option of using
their mobile devices by downloading the accompanying
app. As they are walking through the aisles, customers
will scan and bag the items they wish to purchase before
continuing with their shopping.
those without a bar code, such as fruits and vegetables,
customers can enter a numerical designation and the
weight to enter the item.
completed, shoppers can walk to a checkout stand and
transfer the information stored in the mobile scanning
device (or their phones) into the machine and pay for
their purchases. Those who use mobile devices may bypass
the stands and pay using the app.
of the advantage is conferred in the reduced time.
average, a customer using the regular manned registers,
they handle each product they buy, on average four
times,” said Paula Conklin, front end supervisor. “If
they use the Scan & Go system, they use it once.”
Assistant Manager Stephanie Hale listed other benefits,
especially for those who are on a budget. The reason is
that a subtotal is displayed on the scanner that adjusts
for each purchase. Customers can view instantly how much
they will have to pay for their items.
there is the added benefit of interacting with family.
mothers just love it,” Hale said. “They can engage their
children in their shopping experience. It keeps their
risk is in the independence the store offers the
consumers. With the added responsibility, the retailers
are trusting the consumer to enter their items into the
system accurately. To address that, Scan & Go imposes a
random audit for customers.
the test stores that have been doing this for a year,
they have inventoried and there is no discernable
difference between stores before they had the scanners
and after they had the scanners,” Dooley said.
exchange for eliminating longer wait times at the end,
customers bear more of the burden of the additional
tasks that an employee would perform in the past —
leaving many to ponder the fate of those who perform
biggest question is, ‘how many cashiers have you
replaced?’” Conklin said. “Our answer is that we have
replaced no people. We are still hiring people. We need
as many cashiers as we did before because there is a lot
of explaining, there is a lot of helping. It is a
different type of helping our customers.”