Blog Post: For Once, God Bless Wal-Mart

In full disclosure, my wife and I do shop at Wal-Mart for groceries on a regular basis. While I am not a giant fan of their business practices (other than the part where they print money), it’s hard to argue against their prices. I would love to have the option to shop just at Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s, but I’m not there yet.

People don’t like the crowds, lines and hassles with staff related to shopping there. For the most part, Wal-Mart acts like they don’t care because their platform is based upon offering people the lowest prices on the everyday items we need. With a model like that, many fellow shoppers don’t enjoy bragging that they frequent this business.

For once, however, I might have to change my tune.

As part of an expanding pilot program, the chain announced 200 stores nationwide will allow iPhone shoppers to scan items with their device and pay in a self-checkout line. While it is not completely mimicking Apples m-commerce practices, it is a huge step in the right direction. One of the biggest reasons checking out at Wal-Mart stinks is because it takes forever to scan and price all of your shopping cart. What if it were already done as you shop?

You walk up, pay for everything you scanned, and walk out.

Of course, there will be security concerns. Bags will need to be checked, receipts read, and the evolution of that process will take time. Some might argue that we are exchanging one long line for another. I would much rather go through that hassle, however, because people will learn they can’t game the system any more than before.

So keep appraised of this story, you might actually want to frequent a local big box store soon.

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