US supermarket giant Sam’s Club, owned by Walmart, has developed an app allowing customers to scan and pay for items without needing to visit a checkout.
Sam’s Club has filed a patent for and developed the new app which it plans to begin testing in its innovation lab Sam’s Club Now this spring.
The app will use image recognition technology and machine learning to recognise and register items, placing them in a virtual shopping cart before allowing users to pay digitally.
“Rather than having to locate the barcode and scan it just right, the camera in the app will identify the product with a simple hover and add it to the member’s shopping list,” Sam’s Club’s vice president of member experience Eddie Garcia said.
“By making their jobs easier, they’re able to spend more time serving members,” he said. “Following these tests, we’ll experiment with the use of machine learning and artificial intelligence to help manage member shopping lists.”
The new scanning technology is reportedly far quicker than the current system, which scans products barcodes instead of the item itself.
In a short promo video, the app is seen taking 9.3 seconds to scan a products barcode, but 3.4 seconds to scan the item using the new software.
Should Walmart roll out the system across more of its vast retail estate, it would pose a significant threat to Amazon Go’s cashierless stores, which it has been slowly rolling out across the US since it launched three years ago.