Wal-Mart has added its mobile self-checkout option at 40 Denver-area stores, after launching the first tests of the “scan-and-go” system at stores in four other markets. Shoppers use their smartphones to scan each product’s bar code as they fill their carts, then the application generates a QR code that’s scanned at self-payment kiosks.
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Mechanics: Scan & Go enables a shopper to scan the bar codes on products as she picks the products off shelves and puts them into her shopping cart. The app creates a list of all products scanned. When the shopper has completed shopping, she presses the Done Shopping button and the app generates a custom QR code. The self-checkout terminals scan the QR code on the smartphone, tally the list, and ask the shopper to select a payment option to complete the transaction at the terminal.
Wal-Mart has created a research group in Silicon Valley called @WalmartLabs tasked with developing ways to leverage social media and mobile devices to make shopping at Wal-Mart more appealing. Among the ideas company executives have discussed is posting signs in stores to let shoppers use their smartphones to contact store personnel for help and creating an in-store social network that would let consumers in a store communicate with each other via their mobile handsets.