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09/03/2012

Walmart Tests iPhone-Enabled Self-Checkout

Walmart is testing a system that would allow shoppers to use their iPhones to scan items and then pay for them at a self-checkout counter at a store in Rogers, AR near the company's Bentonville headquarters. The retailer's iPhone app already allows shoppers to create lists and see which items are in stock, but does not currently include a payment function.

News of the test, first reported by Reuters, follows close on the heels of last month's announcement that Walmart would be part of a multi-retailer mobile payments initiative, the Merchant Customer Exchange (MCX). MCX had no detailed information on its mobile app technology except to say that its focus would be on integrating a wide range of consumer offers, promotions and retail programs made available through "virtually any smartphone."

"MCX will leverage mobile technology to give consumers a faster and more convenient shopping experience while eliminating unnecessary costs for all stakeholders," said Walmart corporate vice president and assistant treasure Mike Cook in a statement.

In March, Walmart announced plans to expand its use of self-checkout technology, adding lanes in the 1,600 Walmart stores currently using the technology and introducing it in 220 more Sam's Club locations this year. At that time, Walmart CFO Charles Holley said the retailer is seeking ways to lower costs and prices, noting that for every one second in average transaction time at Walmart's U.S. stores, the company spends approximately $12 million in cashier wages.

For related content: Walmart, Target Join New Retailer-Led Mobile Payment Group

Walmart Expands Self-Checkout to 220 More Sam's Club Stores