COOS BAY — No more standing in line waiting for someone up front to write a check. Not at Walmart.
Now shopping is as easy as putting your purchases in front of your phone and carrying them out to your car with Walmart’s new app, “Scan & Go.”
Jim Larue, North Bend’s Walmart manager, expects the new system to be up and running by Friday.
“The training is already happening with a combination of our corporate people and vendor partners,” Larue said. “People have been working overnight to get the new equipment up and running.”
Walmart is the first retail chain to implement high-tech checkout in the Coos Bay area. Scan & Go will allow customers to bypass checkout lanes in 100 Walmart stores across 33 states, according to Business Insider.
Already available in 25 stores, Scan & Go shoppers scan the barcodes of selected items with a Walmart app on their smartphones. The app does everything else. Customers simply walk out of the store after showing their digital receipts to an employee at the door. Digital coupons are added in the process as well.
“Coupons are so old hat,” Larue said. “Even if, say, your favorite brand of butter is on sale across town for less, your mobile app uses what we call ‘Savings Catchers’ and will give you money back. If you don’t shop the ads, it will do it for you.”
This is Walmart’s second try with Scan & Go. A 2014 trial run flopped. Smart phones just weren’t what they are now.
Today, even if you don’t own a smart phone, you can pick up a hand-held device at a kiosk just inside the store. That convenience allows you to try out the service before downloading into either an Android or an iOS phone.
Once you grab a basket, you scan items with your phone — even produce. A running total shows on the screen for added convenience. If you don’t install the app on your phone, you can pay with a credit card at a pay station.
“It will take two seconds to do that,” Larue said. “The goal is to get you out as quickly as possible, though someone may stop you to check your receipt. Everyone’s time is important.”
What if you bought a sweater in the wrong size? No problem, Larue said.
“We’re already doing returns in the express lanes of customer service and pharmacy.”
Kroger, which owns the Coos Bay Fred Meyer store, will have its own “Scan, Bag, Go,” in 200 of their stores by the end of 2018.
The Coos Bay Freddy’s is scheduled for remodeling this spring, but store Manager Mark Claussen said he hasn’t heard whether Scan, Bag, Go will be included in the remodeling, and Jeffrey Temple at Kroger corporate headquarters said, “We’re not ready to talk about it yet.”
Like Walmart’s Scan & Go, Kroger’s version will use either a handheld scanner or a smart phone app. There will be self-checkout kiosks, but eventually, shoppers will be able to pay directly through the app.
While Scan & Go at Walmart seems pretty advanced to those of us who routinely stand in line to pay for our groceries, Walmart working is working on taking it up another notch with an entirely cashierless store, Business Insider said.
Store No. 8, Walmart’s startup incubator in Arkansas, is said to be using computer vision to track and charge purchases, which allows shoppers to skip the receipt checkers at the door.
Still, this newest concept does not mean the end of in-store employees.
“We haven’t laid off anyone,” Larue said. “There will still be cashier attendees at the self-check, and this just creates a lot of new jobs with the new system.”
But what about that person in front of you who wants to write a check? No worries: Walmart is keeping traditional checkout stands with smiling cashiers to accept that check.