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Walmart Tests On-the-Spot Checkout in US Stores

Just in time for the spring lawn-and-garden shopping season, Walmart is testing handheld devices that allow associates to checkout customers any where in the store.

The "Check Out With Me" devices are being used in 350 US stores, initially in the lawn-and-garden sections, where customers typically purchase large bags of mulch and fertilizer, as well as large plants that are clumsy to take inside the store for payment.

It's the latest iteration of technological devices being used by retailers in the U.S. designed to speed the shopping experience and cater to the needs of time-pressed "me generation" consumers.

Amazon, which now owns Whole Foods, is going even a step further in its new Amazon Go stores, where customers don’t have to check out at all — cameras, artificial intelligence (AI) systems and sensor technology let them simply grab items and leave. It's a faster way for consumers to buy items, while also tying their day-to-day purchases to their Amazon account.

With Walmart's new service, associates wear a small carrying case equipped with a Bluetooth receipt printer. Their cellular device works as the barcode scanner and the credit card swiper for the transactions.

Staff assists the customers by scanning large items — like bags of mulch — while it’s still on the shelf. customers can then carry them straight to their car.

The company also offers Walmart Pay for in-store checkout. With that service, customers scan a barcode on their phones to pay at the register. Meanwhile, Sam’s Club offers Scan & Go, allowing customers to skip the checkout line by scanning items as they shop, then showing their e-receipt on their way out the door.

All of this is a winner for customers and retailers alike. Store checkout lines are reduced and store efficiency is improved, while customers benefit from faster service.

As today's generation likes to say, "It's all good."

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