Attention shoppers: Wal-Mart is exploring mobile ways to speed up the in-store shopping experience for the one billion customers who walk into its stores each month.
Earlier this week, the retail corporation conducted a small usability test of a “Scan & Go” feature that lets iPhone owners scan products, bag items, and use self-checkout kiosks when done.
The company invited a group of employees to test the new iPhone app feature at a Wal-Mart SuperCenter store in Rogers, Arkansas. Participants were screened using an online survey, first discovered by Reuters. Those selected were videotaped, shadowed, interviewed, and compensated with $100 for their time and given a $25 gift card to use on purchases.
The research initiative is likely just an early step by the retail behemoth to determine whether the functionality creates a speedier, easier checkout process for its customers. Wal-Mart’s current iPhone application includes scan functionality that customers can use to check prices and get additional info on products.
The fledgling program also looks to be the culmination of multiple acquisitions made by WalmartLabs, the retail company’s social and mobile product incubator. In January, WalmartLabs added iPhone app agency Small Society to its fold. It also picked up mobile point-of-sale startup Gabble in November 2011.
“We are continually testing new and innovative ways to serve customers and enhance the shopping experience,” a Wal-Mart spokesperson told VentureBeat. “At this point, we don’t have anything specific to share on that testing.”