Walmart has decided to cancel an app that let shoppers scan and pay for items with their smartphones so they could skip waiting in line at checkout registers, the company confirmed to Business Insider on Tuesday. The decision to kill the app, called Scan & Go, comes just four months after Walmart announced it would expand its test of the technology to more than 100 stores. The expanded test highlighted a problem, however: not many customers were actually using the technology. The company said it would use what it learned from the Scan & Go test to inform other ongoing projects, such as Check Out With Me, a new service that arms Walmart employees with mobile checkout devices.
Total Retail's Take: Killing the Scan & Go app highlights a challenge for Walmart as it looks to compete with Amazon.com for retail domination: the discount chain's shoppers tend to be less tech-savvy than Amazon's core demographic, and as such Walmart figures to have a much bigger challenge on its hands getting its customers to engage digitally. Consider that in the same week that Walmart ended Scan & Go cashier-less checkout, Amazon announced that it would be expanding its Amazon Go store format, its cashier-free grocery store, to two new markets (Chicago, San Francisco). That's a glimpse into the digital divide between the two retail giants.
“When self-checkout was introduced, adoption was poor," notes Michael Jaszczyk, CEO, GK Software USA. "However, over time, the concept improved and usability increased. Now, it's a loved and preferred checkout method by customers. I predict the same will happen with scan-and-go solutions. Walmart dropping its mobile Scan & Go service doesn't mean that the concept will go away. Instead, it will be optimized so that all systems are connected, overcoming the difficulty in handling certain clients for certain shopping trips. If retailers use a single underlying technology for all store touchpoints, customers will be able to start a transaction on one device, continue on another and finish on a third. They can create a shopping list on their mobile phone, scan additional items, use self-checkout for weight-based items, and potentially pay in the app or at a traditional POS on all connected devices. Offering more convenient services, like pre-scanning items at home through intelligent shopping lists or offering special bagging services, will help generate better acceptance of scan-and-go by customers in the future.”