Walmart Readies Testing of New Mobile Checkout System
We’ve heard increasing amounts about mobile checkout operations, which let most anyone with a smartphone and a little willingness to sign up for a program serve as their own checkstand. Now, word has arrived about how the grand poobah of brick-and-mortar shopping Walmart is poised to join the growing movement of checkout from anywhere.
The new service, known as Check Out With Me, is poised to start its testing in an unlikely fashion: as part of the 350 stores featuring Lawn & Garden Centers. Typically, these operations are seasonal and kept mainly outside, so there’s a certain advantage to having remote checkout therein.
Walmart will be going one step farther than normal with this, however; instead of having customers rely on their own smartphones—and potentially missing out on the opportunity—Walmart will provide customers with Bluetooth printers and cellular devices to its own sales associates. Customers will be able to have receipts delivered electronically, and will have to pay for purchases with credit cards. The time savings here should be substantial, as previously, customers had to take such purchases back into the store to hit a physical checkout.
Walmart representatives commented “As we continue to test this new process, we’ll be listening to our customers and working on ways to bring their expectations to life. Check Out With Me is the latest example of our commitment to deliver a more convenient shopping experience that saves our customers time.”
It might have been better, of course, if customers were left to do the checking out, as is commonly the case in a true mobile checkout operation. Basically all Walmart’s done here is open up some kind-of-mobile checkstands in its Lawn & Garden section, which really isn’t new. Menard’s locations, for example, routinely outpost a couple checkout locations in their outdoor lawn and garden sectors, plus provide a specific exit to the parking lot from same. It will save some time over the current method, but it’s not likely to pull new customers away from established patterns.
The shame of it is, Walmart could have gone a lot farther with this, into the territory of the truly unique, but chose not to for reasons best described as “apparently there.” Nice try, Walmart, but it’s a close-but-no-cigar win for you this time around.