by Christopher Freeburn | March 21, 2013 10:56 am
Shoppers with smartphones will soon be able to ring up their own purchases while browsing the aisles at more Wal-Mart (NYSE:WMT) stores.
The discount retail giant launched a pilot program at 70 stores in Georgia and Arkansas last year that permits shoppers to use their smartphones to scan purchases as they add them to their carts and then pay at a self-service checkout kiosk on their way out. Now, that program is being expanded to over 200 stores in major metropolitan markets nationwide, the Associated Press noted.
Customers must first download an app that permits the scanning of product bar codes and can communicate with its checkout terminals. Currently, only owners of Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) can use the app, but Wal-Mart plans to offer versions for other mobile operating systems, including Google‘s (NASDAQ:GOOG) Android.
Wal-Mart estimates that smartphones account for 40% of the traffic at its online store. The company hopes to speed customer checkouts and improve satisfaction by catering to the rising number of smartphone users.
Earlier this month, reports circulated that Wal-Mart is moving to expand its online sales in order to compete directly with Internet retailing giant Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN).
Shares of Wal-Mart edged up fractionally in Thursday morning trading.
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