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Walmart “Scan & Go” app – skip checkout lines, but not humans

(BUSINESS NEWS) Walmart wants to make it easier for shoppers to grab what they need, pay, and get out.

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Walmart’s trying to make it possible to shop in stores while having as few human interactions as possible.

The big box retailer has introduced its “Scan & Go” app (Android, iPhone), which enables in-store shoppers to scan and pay for items all from the comfort of their smart phones. No cashiers or waiting in lines necessary.

Here’s how it works: After downloading the Scan & Go app on their Apple or Android device, Walmart shoppers go into the store, pick up what they need, scan the items into the app, and once they are done shopping, the app will total the purchase and users can pay using a debit or credit card through the app.

Scan & Go users can’t totally avoid human contact in Walmart, though. As a security measure for this otherwise very trusting payment tool, Walmart requires those who scan and pay via app to visit a store greeter on the way out of the store, according to InvestorPlace. The greeter will check your receipt against the items on your person to help prevent shoplifting.

If this app takes off, hopefully additional security measures will be added to speed up the exit process and avoid lines of shoppers waiting at the greeter’s station instead of registers. During busy times, I can’t imagine it’d be very hard for shoppers to sneak past the greeter check station, either. Not encouraging scammers, obviously, just speculating.

So far, Walmart’s digital checkout venture has been tested at 25 stores and will be rolled out to an additional 100 stores by the end of January and a total of 200 locations by the end of the year.

Walmart first tried launching this technology in stores three years ago, but it didn’t take off. But, as competitors introduce their own mobile self-checkout options, maybe “Scan & Go” has a fighting chance now.

Amazon announced long ago that it is planning a similar technology (“Amazon Go”) for use in its brick-and-mortar grocery stores (hello, now the Whole Foods acquisition is making even more sense).

Kroger is a bit further along with cashier-less shopping tech and is rolling out its “Scan, Bag, Go” service to 400 stores by the end of 2018 via it’s company app.

My only lingering question: Where do you get the bags for your purchased items? Will there be racks of them on hand at the door? Or is Walmart sneakily encouraging BYOB (bring your own bags)?

Time will tell if this catches on. Smartphones really are taking over the world – and retail spaces.

Sienna is a Staff Writer at The American Genius and has a bachelor's degree in journalism with an emphasis in writing and editing from the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh. She is currently a freelance writer with an affinity for topics that help others better themselves. Sienna loves French-pressed coffee and long walks at the dog park.

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1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. steve

    February 23, 2018 at 9:19 am

    The 2 stores I frequent, I have found no one liking it; not the customers, not the employees, not even the floor staff. The stores are pushing it so hard it looks like a desperate attempt to appease shareholders by cutting payroll. I have quit shopping for groceries at Wal-mart since they now have only 1(sometimes rarely 2) human manned registers. Those registers will have a line wrapping around the store while 2-3 staff twiddle their thumbs as one person is in the 24 register scan and go area. I can’t wait for the next phase….Scan and unload Our truck yourself.

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Business News

Keep your company’s operations lean by following these proven strategies

(BUSINESS) Keeping your operations lean means more than saving money, it means accomplishing more in less time.

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The past two years have been challenging, not just economically, but also politically and socially as well. While it would be nice to think that things are looking up, in reality, the problems never end. Taking a minimalist approach to your business, AKA keeping it lean, can help you weather the future to be more successful.

Here are some tips to help you trim the fat without putting profits above people.

Automate processes

Artificial intelligence frees up human resources. AI can manage many routine elements of your business, giving your team time to focus on important tasks that can’t be delegated to machines. This challenges your top performers to function at higher levels, which can only benefit your business.

Consider remote working

Whether you rent or own your property, it’s expensive to keep an office open. As we learned in the pandemic, many jobs can be done just as effectively from home as the workplace. Going remote can save you money, even if you help your team outfit their home office for safety and efficiency.

In today’s world, many are opting to completely shutter office doors, but you may be able to save money by using less space or renting out some of your office space.

Review your systems to find the fat

As your business grows (or downsizes), your systems need to change to fit how you work. Are there places where you can save money? If you’re ordering more, you may be able to ask vendors for discounts. Look for ways to bring down costs.

Talk to your team about where their workflow suffers and find solutions. An annual review through your budget with an eye on saving money can help you find those wasted dollars.

Find the balance

Operating lean doesn’t mean just saving money. It can also mean that you look at your time when deciding to pay for services. The point is to be as efficient as possible with your resources and systems, while maintaining customer service and safety. When you operate in a lean way, it sets your business up for success.

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How to apply to be on a Board of Directors

(BUSINESS) What do you need to think about and explore if you want to apply for a Board of Directors? Here’s a quick rundown of what, why, and when.

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What?
What does a Board of Directors do? Investopedia explains “A board of directors (B of D) is an elected group of individuals that represent shareholders. The board is a governing body that typically meets at regular intervals to set policies for corporate management and oversight. Every public company must have a board of directors. Some private and nonprofit organizations also have a board of directors.”

Why?
It is time to have a diverse representation of thoughts, values and insights from intelligently minded people that can give you the intel you need to move forward – as they don’t have quite the same vested interests as you.

We have become the nation that works like a machine. Day in and day out we are consumed by our work (and have easy access to it with our smartphones). We do volunteer and participate in extra-curricular activities, but it’s possible that many of us have never understood or considered joining a Board of Directors. There’s a new wave of Gen Xers and Millennials that have plenty of years of life and work experience + insights that this might be the time to resurrect (or invigorate) interest.

Harvard Business Review shared a great article about identifying the FIVE key areas you would want to consider growing your knowledge if you want to join a board:

1. Financial – You need to be able to speak in numbers.
2. Strategic – You want to be able to speak to how to be strategic even if you know the numbers.
3. Relational – This is where communication is key – understanding what you want to share with others and what they are sharing with you. This is very different than being on the Operational side of things.
4. Role – You must be able to be clear and add value in your time allotted – and know where you especially add value from your skills, experiences and strengths.
5. Cultural – You must contribute the feeling that Executives can come forward to seek advice even if things aren’t going well and create that culture of collaboration.

As Charlotte Valeur, a Danish-born former investment banker who has chaired three international companies and now leads the UK’s Institute of Directors, says, “We need to help new participants from under-represented groups to develop the confidence of working on boards and to come to know that” – while boardroom capital does take effort to build – “this is not rocket science.

When?
NOW! The time is now for all of us to get involved in helping to create a brighter future for organizations and businesses that we care about (including if they are our own business – you may want to create a Board of Directors).

The Harvard Business Review gave great explanations of the need to diversify those that have been on the Boards to continue to strive to better represent our population as a whole. Are you ready to take on this challenge? We need you.

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Business News

Average age of successful startup founders is 45, but stop stereotyping

(BUSINESS) Our culture glorifies (yet condemns?) startup founders as rich 20-somethings in hoodies, but some are a totally different type.

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There’s a common misconception that startups are riddled with semi-nerdy, 20-something white dudes who do nothing but sip Nitro Brews and walk around the open office showing off the hoodie they wore yesterday. It turns out that it’s extremely rare that startup offices resemble The Social Network.

However, the academic backdrop for the real social network story (AKA Harvard), produced statistics that will serve to put the aforementioned misconception to rest. According to the Harvard Business Review, the average age of people who founded the highest-growth startups is 45. Say what?! A full-fledged adult?!

In fact, aside from the age category of 60 and over, ages 29 and younger were the smallest group of founders that are responsible for heading the highest-growth startups. I guess you can accomplish a lot when you’re not riding around the office on a scooter all day.

The study also found that older entrepreneurs are more likely to succeed. The probability of extreme startup success rises with age, at least until the late 50s. It was found that work experience plays an important role.

Many will argue, “Well, what about someone like Steve Jobs?” You could easily argue right back that it took Jobs until the age of 52 to create Apple’s most profitable product – the iPhone.

The study continues to answer questions like, why do Venture Capitalist investors bet on young founders? This goes back to the misconception at the start, and there’s a notion that youth is the key for successful entrepreneurship. Wrong.

There is also the idea that younger entrepreneurs are likely working with less financial options, so it may be common for them to take something from a VC at a lower price. As a result, they could be viewed as more of a bargain than older founders.

“The next step for researchers is to explore what exactly explains the advantage of middle-aged founders,” writes Pierre Azoulay, et al. “For example, is it due to greater access to financial resources, deeper social networks, or certain forms of experience? In the meantime, it appears that advancing age is a powerful feature, not a bug, for starting the most successful firms.”

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