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Wal-Mart Tests iPhone Shopping App To Cut Millions In Wage Costs

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Wal-Mart is testing a “Scan & Go” system that would allow shoppers to use their iPhones to scan items then pay for them more quickly at a self-checkout counter, according to a Reuter news release. If successful, the move could slash costs for the retailer significantly.

For every second of average transaction time across its U.S. chain, Wal-Mart spends approximately $12 million in cashier wages, noted Reuters. The company could save millions of dollars, said Charles Holley, CFO for Wal-Mart, as more shoppers scan their own items and make payments without the help of a cashier, according to the release.

The current Wal-Mart iPhone app enables shoppers to create shopping lists and locate items. With the “Scan & Go” system, shoppers also can scan products with their iPhones, put them in bags while they shop then pay at a self-checkout counter. Though the test currently does not allow users to pay on their phones, it does transmit scanned item information to the self-checkout kiosk, where shoppers complete their transactions using the typical self-checkout process.

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In addition, Wal-Mart recently announced partnerships with other merchants in an effort to develop a retailer-led mobile payment network, similar to services from Google Inc. and eBay Inc., among others.

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