It is an idea that was just waiting to be implemented: using your iPhone to scan product barcodes at retailers. Apparently, the world’s largest chain of retail stores agrees. Walmart announced Wednesday it will offer the feature across more than 200 stores in twelve additional U.S. markets, stretching from Seattle to Oklahoma.
Although the move triples the size of the retail chain’s Scan & Go program, Walmart said it still wants to get customer feedback before rolling out iPhone-based price checks in all stores…
“Shoppers scan bar codes on items they want to buy, using the Walmart app on their iPhone, iPod touch or iPad to keep track of the planned purchases and the total cost,” Reuters reported Wednesday morning. “Then they pay at a self-checkout screen, bypassing the typical registers.”
Begun in late 2012 near the Walmart headquarters in Arkansas, the program grew to Atlanta and 70 stores. Today’s announcement moves that figure to more than 200 outlets – though a small portion of the company’s more than 4,000 locations in the United States.
The 12 new locations include: Denver, Phoenix, Omaha, Dallas, Austin, Oklahoma City, Tulsa, Wyoming, Bozeman, Mont., Seattle, San Jose, and Portland.
Head over to this Walmart web page for additional tidbits on the Scan & Go service and a promo video.
To use Scan & Go, you’ll need Walmart’s free iPhone app.
Scan & Go is currently available in select stores and on iPhones only, but Walmart said a build for Android is coming soon.
“We want our customer feedback to dictate the experience,” explains Gibu Thomas, senior vice president of mobile and digital at Walmart Global eCommerce. More than half of the Walmart shoppers who have tried the feature are repeat customers, according to the report.
Along with increasing the bar code reading, Walmart is also upping the number of self-checkout areas at its stores. In 1,500 stores now, the self-serve areas should reach an additional 1,000 to 1,500 locations this year, Walmart executive Jeff McAllister told the news service.
There may be further streamlining at Walmart as iPhones and other smartphones become common shopping accessories.
The Scan & Go feature may be followed by digital coupons, as well as a mobile payment network from Walmart and other retailers similar to services from Paypal and Google.