Wal-Mart is slowly rolling out its Scan & Go product to more store locations across the United States.
The service now is available at over 200 locations, which is about 5% of all locations nationwide, according to an article from Mobile Commerce Daily. It’s hard not to speculate this product is a precursor to what Merchant Consumer Exchange may have in store for the industry. This could even be a pilot program for the larger project. According to a recent article in NFC Times, the MCX is planning an initial rollout using bar code technology, not NFC. Perhaps this description gives us a glimpse into that initiative?
From Mobile Commerce Daily:
Once inside a store, customers can open the app, choose In-Store mode and scan the bar codes on the products they want to purchase as they move through the aisles. Doing so automatically checks items off a shopping list if users have created one.
From there, consumers can bag items and go to the self-checkout lane where they scan a QR code that appears on a screen to transfer their basket and then pay. Users can request an electronic receipt as well as a paper one.
It remains to be seen whether this self-checkout process is part of the MCX experience, or even if MCX gets off the ground. But Wal-Mart slowly is moving forward with their mobile initiative and using this rollout as a means of testing and recalibrating the product as it scales it.
The important point to note is the fact that this product strategy is about much more than a payment. In this process, almost every part of the consumer shopping experience has a mobile-component which allows the retailer to track and monitor the consumer across their store or online environments in a far more granular and precise way than ever before. This will inform Wal-Mart’s store operations, inventory-control, staffing, loss prevention, as well as payment processing. There are other large merchants also undertaking this kind of holistic engineering view mobile as means of creating an entirely new level of consumer experience and providing rich data feedback loops to their business operations.
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