Sam's Club Is Finally Getting Rid of Receipt Checks—But There's a Catch
You won't have to keep your hardcopy receipt out, but your cart's still getting checked.
One of the more tedious aspects of shopping at warehouse clubs like Costco and Sam's Club is the receipt-checking process, in which employees at the exit give your receipt a once-over before you leave. But now, Sam's Club is ditching this process, meaning you can stash your paper receipt in your pocket or purse right after you check out—and avoid waiting in line. However, that doesn't mean the wholesaler won't be checking to see that you paid.
Sam's Club, which is owned by Walmart, is pivoting from manual receipt checks to an artificial intelligence (AI) approach, the company announced in a Jan. 9 press release.
"We care about every second a member spends with us, so saving them even a few seconds is well worth it if we can make their experience more delightful," the company wrote. "That's why we're excited about our latest technology advancement that will resolve a key member concern: waiting in line for receipt verification to exit the club."
In the release, the company said it's a "first-of-its-kind" application of AI, effectively getting rid of the oftentimes long and frustrating lines at the door. To confirm that shoppers have paid for everything in their carts at the register or via Scan & Go, the technology uses "computer vision and digital technology" to capture images of everything in the cart. It's then able to verify payment, Sam's Club said.
A photo of the "Seamless Exit Technology" shows two thin, rectangular archways that customers walk through (which one you walk through will depend on whether you paid at the register or through Scan & Go). Each arch has dome security cameras situated at the cart level. A screenshot of the exit camera view shows how images are captured from different angles, including from above and on the sides.
Regardless of your feelings on AI in general, the warehouse club said that the initiative is intended to improve the shopping experience. In the release, the company noted that members consistently identify exit wait times as a "pain point," and Sam's Club CEO Chris Nicholas said that the move was made in response to this kind of feedback.
Now, with AI, the wholesaler hopes the exit process will be that much quicker and also allow exit greeters to focus on assisting members. In a statement to Best Life, a Walmart spokesperson said no jobs will be affected by this change.
The new technology was publicly announced by Megan Crozier, executive vice president and chief merchant for Sam's Club, in the company's keynote presentation at the Consumer Electronic Show (CES) in Las Vegas, Business Insider reported.
During the presentation, Crozier said that the exit technology is currently "live" in Dallas, but the company plans to roll it out to all 600 Sam's Club locations by the end of 2024.
The Walmart spokesperson confirmed that members are trying out the experience at 10 locations in total, including nine warehouse clubs in the Dallas Metro area and one other in Joplin, Missouri.
Sam's Club also highlighted Scan & Go as a convenient option. Members use the club's app on their phones to scan items while shopping. Once they're done, they can skip the checkout process entirely and pay through the app instead.