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Report: Walmart testing iPhone self-checkout app

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Walmart is testing a new system enabling shoppers to scan items using their Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) iPhone, then complete their purchase at a self-checkout counter.

Reuters reports Walmart is trialing the new Scan & Go program at its Rogers, Ark. superstore, and last week invited iPhone-equipped employees to test the service. The app does not support mobile payment transactions: Customers simply scan products they wish to purchase and place each item in bags while they shop. Scan & Go transfers pricing information on each scanned item to the store's self-checkout kiosks, where shoppers can fund their purchase using cash, credit or debit card. 

Walmart recently announced plans to roll out additional self-checkout lanes across the Walmart and Sam's Club chains. In March, the big-box retailer's CFO Charles Holley said migrating customers to self-checkout services could save millions of dollars--Walmart spends about $12 million in cashier wages every second.

"All of the effort is to speed your way through the checkout so that we can reduce costs and improve the shopping experience," Paul Weitzel, managing partner at retail consulting firm Willard Bishop, told Reuters. "With smartphones and improved technology we're only going to see more of this."

Walmart confirmed the Scan & Go trial but declined to offer specifics on its plans for the technology. "We're continually testing new and innovative ways to serve customers and enhance the shopping experience in our stores," a spokesperson said.

The Scan & Go trial follows weeks after Walmart said it will partner with retailers including Target, Best Buy, Sears and 7-Eleven to create the Merchant Customer Exchange, a nationwide mobile commerce network designed to rival efforts like Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) Wallet and Isis, the point-of-sale initiative spearheaded by Verizon Wireless (NYSE:VZ), AT&T (NYSE:T) and T-Mobile USA. The MCX companies--which together account for roughly $1 trillion in annual sales--are developing a mobile application supporting smartphone-enabled purchases across all participating merchants as well as consumer offers, promotions and retail programs. MCX has declined to reveal additional details but promised the app will be available across virtually all smartphones.

For more:
- read this Reuters article

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