Updated! Taking a page from Amazon Go, the e-tailer’s cashier-less convenience store, Walmart has opened its first Sam’s Club Now, where cash and plastic cards are obsolete.
The shopping experience at the prototype warehouse club is built around a new Sam’s Club Now mobile app, which incorporates scan-and-go checkout, smart shopping lists, in-store navigation and augmented reality.
Using a variation on Sam’s Club’s two-year-old scan-and-go mobile technology, customers ring up items on a digital cart by photographing their UPC codes, and complete the purchase by scanning their phones when they leave (see Field Agent video, below). The app can also respond to spoken queries to map out directions to a particular product aisle using voice search, wayfinding and navigation features, and can cause select products to seemingly come to life via AR enhancements.
Other forthcoming features will include electronic shelf labels that can update prices on the fly; the ability to plot out a store path based on a customer’s digital shopping list, using beacon technology; and the deployment of 700 cameras to help manage inventory and optimize the layout of the sales floor.
At 32,000 square feet, the store is about a quarter the size of a typical Sam’s Club, which makes it “an ideal space to test new technologies,” said Jamie Iannone, CEO of SamsClub.com and membership and technology executive VP. Writing in a corporate blog, he described Sam’s Club Now as an in-the-field test lab where computer vision, machine learning, AI and other innovative technologies will “redefine the retail experience.”
The store was built in Dallas where a company Innovation Center is located, Iannone said.