Briefing

Walmart debuts ‘scan-and-go’ app in Toronto store in latest attempt at Canadian launch

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The app lets customers scan items as they shop, bag their own items, then scan the app on exiting the store, at which point their credit card is automatically charged. Walmart plans to roll out the app to three other stores. (Globe and Mail)

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Talking point: Walmart has struggled to get customers to use its app in the past. In 2018, the company dropped a pilot program running in 20 Canadian stores, following customer complaints about the difficulties of weighing their own produce and the effectiveness of the scanner gun. The Toronto pilot is meant to address those concerns. For example, customers are now charged per produce item, not by weight. Loblaw is currently running a pilot in eight Toronto stores with a similar scanning process, although shoppers do need to weigh their own produce. Getting the small details right on this kind of app is tricky. In the U.S., Walmart abandoned a scan app in 2018 after customers complained that it was draining their phones’ batteries. Walmart and Loblaw’s interest comes as Amazon is considering opening 3,000 cashierless grocery stores across the U.S. by the end of 2021.