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Walmart expands mobile checkout program to 200 stores

BENTONVILLE, Ark. — Late last year, Walmart rolled out the pilot program for a new mobile initiative called "Scan & Go" to 70 stores in the Atlanta and Bentonville, Ark. areas, where the company is based. Now, the mass merchandise retailer is expanding the program after a successful test run.

The "Scan & Go" program allows shoppers to scan bar codes with their smartphones using the "Scan & Go" app, currently only available through Apple, while they're in the aisles. The app generates a specific customer code, which is then scanned at self-checkout terminals when the customer is ready to leave.

"Our goal is to give choices to all of our customers however they want to shop," said Gibu Thomas, senior vice president of mobile and digital initiatives at WalMart's global e-commerce division. "It's part of a holistic program to empower the customer."

How the customer wants to shop is relying more and more on mobile devices, Walmart found. More than half of WalMart's customers have smartphones, and 40 percent of traffic from walmart.com is coming from shoppers' mobile devices, added Thomas.

With more than half of shoppers who tried the "Scan & Go" app using it again, Walmart notes the pilot program is resonating well with its customers, Thomas said. It presents a good way for shoppers to keep a running tally of how much they're spending as they shop, as well as allowing customers to bag their own groceries how they see fit. "They like to bag items the way they keep their items in the house," he said.

The expansion will now see the program in more than 200 stores in markets including Dallas, Houston, Austin, Texas; Denver, Portland, Ore., Seattle, and Phoenix.

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