Shoppers are gravitating to mobile checkout solutions that continue to appear at a variety of merchants. As the following Computerworld article reports, Walmart is testing a mobile POS system in its lawn and garden department at selected stores.
When Walmart rolled out its mobile Check Out with Me program last week, it made a meaningful first step toward the retail nirvana of full in-aisle mobile checkout.
Some quick background: For more than a decade now, ever since mobile applications were first taken seriously in retail, the ultimate goal has been to do away with checkout lanes and have all purchases paid either as you go (think loading items into smart carts that total prices or purchasing through the shopper’s own mobile device) or all at once but through a mobile-armed associate in whatever aisle the shopper’s last item was grabbed.
The trial is limited to a segment of Walmart’s business that has always stressed point-of-sale efforts: its lawn-and-garden centers. That area is challenging because the items sold there are often very large and bulky (consider a 14-pound bag of soil) and shoppers are already outside, typically near their car. That means that they have to lug the bulky item into the store, wait in line to pay, then pay and drag it back outside to their car.
With this trial program, associates use a mobile device with a card swipe — devices that Walmart purchased explicitly for this trial, according to Rushing — to charge shoppers right there in the outside garden area.
Walmart is no stranger to mobile checkout. The giant retailer features a Scan and Go mobile self-checkout in all of its Sam’s Clubs as well as many Walmart stores. Other retailers, such as Macy’s, are rolling out mobile self-checkout apps as well. The highly publicized Amazon Go store in Seattle opened to the public earlier this year, is a true self-checkout (no store staff involved), although so far limited in scope to just one C-store type shop. Most shoppers want to avoid checkout lines—merchants have listened and are working to make more mobile checkout systems a reality.
Overview by Raymond Pucci, Associate Director, Research Service at Mercator Advisory Group
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