Back in 1999, Baker's Supermarkets introduced a scan and checkout technology to the Omaha market. It failed. Now another retailer has an updated version and is confident it will be a success.
Scan and shop technology is back. The 2.0 version is available now with a Walmart app available now on iPhones and soon on all smartphone platforms.
The concept and use are simple, scan a product's bar code and take the item(s) to the register. "It goes wirelessly through the cloud and downloads your shopping list from your phone into our register and you pay and you go," said Walmart's Justin Shank.
Customer surveys showed great interest in the app, but since it was rolled out in February few customers have downloaded the app and used it to shop.
Tammy Green didn't know the store had the new technology. She doesn't consider herself a techie, but she does have an iPhone and says she could see herself using the app in certain situations. "Today I don't have very much shopping to do so I could see using it today. There aren't very many people in here so I could see using it, but if it was crowded and I had a bunch of shopping I probably would not use it."
Shank is confident the new technology will catch on, but says it could never replace the cashiers. Shank sees the wireless check out being popular with people in a hurry. "Smaller purchases, you want to pop in, pop out, go and you're in control of your time, you can watch how much you're spending on there, it gives you a running total of how much you're spending including tax."
Cutting costs is more important to many people today than it was in 1999.