Walmart is testing a new program in the Lawn & Garden Centers of more than 350 of its stores that outfits store associates with mobile point-of-sale technology to help customers check out and pay for their purchases on the spot, rather than having to go back inside the store to pay, according to a Walmart blog post.
Under the "Check Out With Me" program, associates are given cellular devices and Bluetooth printers, the latter so that they can provide customers with receipts, allowing them to leave and carry their outdoor department purchases (e.g. mulch, soil and flowers) directly to their vehicles.
The new service arrives as Walmart continues to expand its in-store Scan & Go mobile checkout offering to more locations.
Walmart is doing a lot of different things with mobile in stores, all with the same aim of making the in-store shopping and purchasing experience as pleasant and frictionless as possible for customers. Check Out with Me is the latest reflection of this effort.
Walmart also launched an in-store app-based mobile assistant in February as part of this ongoing effort, and a Mobile Express returns service it rolled out last fall. Some of these capabilities are still in a testing phase or early rollout stages, but Walmart is not just throwing a bunch of ideas against the wall to see what sticks. Rather, the company seems to be well on its way to realizing all the ways that mobile can be used in-store.
"Walmart's Check Out with Me service makes the case for retailers to deliver on mobile personal POS technology that can handle transactions anytime and anywhere, delivering a convenient customer experience that will drive greater loyalty," Michael Jaszczyk, CEO of GK Software USA, said in a statement emailed to Retail Dive. "The new era of point of sale will make it easy for any retailer to manage transactions however their customers want — with an emphasis on mobility — to make the checkout and payment process as seamless and painless as possible."
Adam Silverman, senior vice president of marketing at Theatro, said Check Out with Me should also pay dividends for Walmart staff, as it's a mobile technology innovation that brings them into direct, personal engagements with customers. "By providing employees with these tools to provide on-the-spot checkout, Walmart is creating a smarter and more helpful associate." He added that these type of associates will be an essential element of the store of the future.
While the ultimate aim with Check Out with Me is to improve the customer experience, in rolling out all of these in-store mobile features, Walmart is effectively redefining the roles that stores and store associates should play within that experience.