Walmart Gives Up On Unpopular Self-Checkout Service


Walmart has ended its self-checkout service after it failed to become a hit with customers.

According to Bloomberg, the retailer decided to offer its “Mobile Scan & Go” technology in about 150 Walmart stores after it was successful across its Sam’s Club warehouse chain.

With the free Scan & Go mobile app, customers use a handheld device or their smartphones to scan the barcodes on products as they do their in-store shopping and add products to their carts. The app maintains a running total and list of the merchandise and prices, enabling shoppers to do a self-checkout via their mobile device instead of waiting in line.

But while the service was popular at Sam’s Club, it didn’t catch on with many Walmart shoppers, who found that bagging, weighing and then scanning items – including fresh fruit and vegetables – was confusing, as well as a hassle.

Walmart’s CFO Brett Biggs admitted at an investor conference in March that there were things that “make the customer maybe a little more leery of Scan & Go.”

The service not only forced shoppers to step out of their comfort zones, but the large number of items in a typical Walmart basket made the process even more complicated for the retailer's customers, according to Neil Stern, a senior partner at retail consultants McMillanDoolittle.

“Even though scan-and-go technology has been around for some time, consumers still don’t seem to embrace it the way we anticipated,” he said.

The service will still be available at Sam’s Club, where its usage doubled last year, according to Sam’s CEO John Furner.

In the meantime, Walmart is testing out a new service called “Check Out With Me,” where employees can ring up a customer’s order and scan their payment card from a handheld device inside the store. The new service is now available in more than 350 lawn and garden centers.



The How We Shop Report, a PYMNTS collaboration with PayPal, aims to understand how consumers of all ages and incomes are shifting to shopping and paying online in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. Our research builds on a series of studies conducted since March, surveying more than 16,000 consumers on how their shopping habits and payments preferences are changing as the crisis continues. This report focuses on our latest survey of 2,163 respondents and examines how their increased appetite for online commerce and digital touchless methods, such as QR codes, contactless cards and digital wallets, is poised to shape the post-pandemic economy.