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More Go than Scan – shopper theft forces Walmart rethink

Walmart pulled the plug on its Scan & Go mobile self-checkout initiative last year following high levels of shopper theft.

“You think that the theft is bad on self-checkouts? Wait until you try Scan & Go, where nobody is watching the customers out in the aisles,” said Joel Larson, a former Walmart executive and now VP of Innovation at Innowi, told Business Insider

He recalled a colleague joking that, “we’re just going to call the programme ‘go’ because the customers can’t seem to ‘scan’ anything.”

Scan & Go launched in 2017 and expanded to an additional 100 stores in 2018. Walmart then announced in April last year that it had completed a test run. “While the service has ended, we’re always working to bring customers more convenience, and so we’ll use what we’ve learned to improve this and other services in the future," it said.

“In our efforts to minimise friction points, we found that the programme created some of its own such as receipt checks, weighted produce, and un-bagged merchandise resulting from using the programme,” the retailer, which has since expanded its use of Check Out With Me, said in response to Larson’s comments. “Additionally, low adoption played a role in the removal of the programme.”

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