Sam’s Club Plans to Use AI to Scan Carts When Shoppers Leave

By: Ben Campbell | Published: Jan 21, 2024

Warehouse retailer Sam’s Club reveals they plan to inch closer to a completely digital world as they prepare to stop checking receipts as they roll out their AI shopping cart scanner.

The membership-only chain recently announced it plans to implement the new system across many of its stores after successfully trialing it at 10 locations. 

Sam’s Club Focused on Consumer Experience

Sam’s Club is one of the United States’ most beloved wholesaler membership stores. Customers pay a small membership fee, allowing them to shop at locations nationwide. 

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Retail customer wearing a green jacket smiles for a photograph in-store

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Now, Walmart-owned retail stores aim to make shoppers’ lives even easier by offering an AI-powered system that enables them to leave the store without stopping to have their receipts checked.

Ditching Physical Receipts

Last week, Sam’s Club announced its new plan aimed at removing physical receipts.

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Close-up view of a woman using a self-checkout counter inside a retail store

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Instead, they will begin using an artificial intelligence system that scans shoppers’ carts as they leave the warehouse.

Same As Before, Yet Faster

Essentially, the consumer’s experience at Sam’s Club wouldn’t really change. However, they would save time because employees would no longer have to check their receipts as they leave the store.

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Mother and son pause to play after leaving their local supermarket

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Instead, a combination of AI systems and digital technology will scan everything in their cart as they pass through the exit area. 

Corporate Team Announces Big Change

Sam’s Club corporate team announced their intentions this past week, claiming the new technology will ensure consumers have a pleasant end to their shop.

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A group of corporate co-workers dressed in suits smile as their photograph is taken

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“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,” Sam’s Club said in a press release.

Sam’s Club Announces the Roll Out

Megan Crozier, chief merchant at Sam’s Club, explained the rollout of the new technology during a keynote presentation at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.

Aerial view of a Sam's club and its parking lot

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“Eliminating even the few seconds it takes to scan a receipt at the exit door is well worth it,” said Crozier. 

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No Hassle with New Tech

During the event in Las Vegas, Sam’s Club played a short video that showed off the new tech. One customer was shown in two separate scenarios; one involved using the Sam’s Club mobile app and AI system, and the other involved a regular exit. 

Woman smiles for a photograph wearing a patterned jacket as she leaves a supermarket

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The video cut to a regular shopper who was forced to stop and show a receipt at the exit. Meanwhile, the tech-savvy consumer walked right through a large gateway that scanned her items without being stopped. 

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Crozier Claims New Tech Surpasses Amazon Go

During the event, Crozier boasted of how efficient the new AI checkout system would be.

Facade with logo and sign at the Amazon Go concept store, a physical retail store operated by Amazon

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“It’s one thing to enable this easy kind of exit tech in a small-footprint store for a handful of items,” she said, no doubt taking aim at Amazon’s Just Walk Out. 

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Large-Scale Operating System

Crozier continued by explaining the scale of the operating system that would allow you to easily purchase $1000s worth of stock without stopping to show your receipt. 

Woman uses her smartphone to scan items at the supermarket

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“You’ve all seen it: You can get an apple, a cheese stick, maybe something as big as a box of cereal, but we’re doing it at scale,” she said

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Roll-Out of the AI System

According to Sam’s Club, they already have an artificial intelligence scanning system in ten stores.

A man in a light-colored sweatshirt shirt shops in a department store with his young child

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Yet, by the end of the year, they plan to have it at over 600 warehouse stores across the nation.

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No More Long Queues

Long queue times in various Sam’s Clubs warehouses have been a typical complaint they’ve received over the years. Now, it looks like this is set to change.

Long queue of people stand in a uniform line awaiting their turn

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If the rollout is a success in many warehouse stores, consumers may begin to see the same technology used by their parent company, Walmart.

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Happy Consumers

Chris Nicholas, CEO of Sam’s Club, explained that the new system is one of the many ways the retail giant hopes to ensure consumers enjoy their shopping experience.

A happy couple smile as they walk through a retail department store

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“We are constantly looking at ways for Sam’s Club to be the most convenient membership club and will continue to prioritize using technology to provide a truly differentiated and delightful experience for our members,” he said

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