Sam's Club to roll out AI checkout technology across all stores soon

Sam's Club is introducing artificial intelligence-powered technology at some of its stores to verify purchases as members exit, replacing traditional receipt checks. 

The Walmart-owned bulk retailer announced in a press release on Tuesday that the technology has been implemented in 120 Sam's Club locations nationwide. 

The company noted that where the technology is available, over half of the customers have opted to use it, speeding up their exit by 23%.

RELATED: Walmart, Target limiting self-checkouts in some stores. Will others follow suit?

Initially revealed in January at the Consumer Electronics Show, the AI technology is set to be installed in all of Sam's Club's nearly 600 stores by year's end. 

Theft issues at self-checkout

The deployment of this technology seems to contradict a trend where companies are reconsidering self-checkout options due to increasing theft rates, potentially signaling a return to manned cashier stations. 

A 2023 LendingTree survey revealed that 15% of consumers admitted to stealing items at self-checkout stations, with another 44% open to the possibility of doing so again. 

Last month, Amazon announced plans to phase out its "Just Walk Out" technology in Amazon Fresh stores. This technology, which allowed customers to shop without waiting in line, is being discontinued as part of an overhaul of the company's grocery operations. 

However, Sam's Club states that their new AI technology will ensure that members have paid for the items in their carts, eliminating the need for them to wait in line for a manual receipt check by an employee.

RELATED: Amazon removing cashier-less 'Just Walk Out' technology from grocery stores

"Members continue to say they want a faster and more convenient shopping experience and consistently rated the wait times at the exit – especially during busy periods – as a pain point in the shopping experience," Sam's Club said. 

RELATED: Nearly half of shoppers who stole using self-checkout machine say they'd do it again: Survey

Sam's Club's new feature integrates seamlessly with its Scan and Go app, enabling shoppers to scan and pay for items directly from their carts. After completing checkout at a register or using the app, customers pass through blue gateways equipped with cameras and scanners that verify the items in their carts against their purchases.

Additionally, this technology allows exit greeters, who previously checked receipts, to be reassigned to other customer service tasks, enhancing overall store efficiency, according to Sam's Club.