In an effort to make Scan & Go a bit quicker, Sam’s Club, owned by retailing giant Walmart, has developed and is testing an app that uses a camera for a mobile shopping experience, identifying products in consumers’ baskets rather than barcodes.
According to reports, the camera technology, which is tied to the firm’s Dallas innovation lab, represents what might be the “next level” in scan-and-go efforts.
The company has filed a patent for the technology, which relies on computer vision and machine learning. The concept will be tested beginning this spring through the Sam’s Club Now app.
Eddie Garcia, VP of the company’s product and member experience operations, said in a statement that “at its core, Sam’s Club Now will be a technology lab that doubles as a live, retail club. It’s where we will incubate, test and refine technologies to help define the future of retail.”
Winsight Grocery Business reported Tuesday (March 4) that the app’s features include machine learning and purchase data to automatically fill in “smart shopping lists,” and “voice search capabilities” that help trigger pop-up maps. Members can also place and pick up orders within an hour.
With the new scanning process, the app lets users account for items as they are loaded into the cart. The purchase takes place through the app, so users don’t have to stand in line to check out and pay. A video on the Sam’s Club site shows that scanning an item – in this case, water – can take roughly nine seconds using the barcode method, while the new, camera-driven technology takes a bit more than three seconds.
In tandem with the new scanning efforts, the company said in October of last year that Sam’s Club is introducing a new in-store role known as the “member host,” who will serve as a concierge.