Sunday, May 19, 2024

Sam’s Club says AI will handle exit checks in all stores by end of 2024

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Any Sam’s Club member is familiar with the lines that can form at the exits of the big box store during busy shopping times as customers line up for an associate to check their receipts to confirm their purchases. 

Now, the company says those bottlenecks will be slashed at its clubs nationwide by the end of the year, thanks to new artificial intelligence-powered technology.

Sam’s Club customer leaving store through new artificial intelligence-powered exit checkpoint. (Walmart / Fox News)

At the Consumer Electronics Show in January, the Walmart division unveiled a new AI-powered scanning system positioned at store exits that captures images of carts and verifies payment for all items within a member’s basket. 

Since then, Sam’s announced this week, the new tech has been rolled out at 20% of its stores, and will be in each of the company’s 600 locations by the close of 2024.

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The company says that in the 120 stores where the AI scanners have been deployed so far, more than half of customers have ushered through them, reducing wait times for all members by 23%.

Sam’s Club says the rapid deployment of its new AI-powered exit scanners is the largest-scale implementation of such customer-facing tech in the industry. (Johnny Louis/Getty Images / Getty Images)

Sam’s Club took a victory lap in its announcement, saying that the rapid deployment of its new AI exit technology, which was developed in-house, represents the largest-scale implementation of member-facing AI-powered technology in the retail industry.

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The company also took digs at its competitors without naming them, saying, “The retailer’s announcement of reaching the milestone of deploying at 20% of its clubs in the first quarter comes as other retailers have struggled to deploy similar technology at scale, with some abandoning efforts, just starting initial pilots or having no plans to enhance customer experiences through checkout and store exit technologies.”

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The retailer said its customers have long rated the potentially-lengthy wait times at exits as “a pain point,” and says this new tech not only streamlines the customer’s experience but frees up more time for Sam’s associates to assist customers rather than manning the exits.

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