Case Study: AI-Based Receipt Verification at Sam’s Club

In early 2024, Sam’s Club, a division of Walmart Inc., announced the introduction of an innovative AI-powered technology aimed at enhancing the shopping experience by eliminating the need for manual receipt checking at store exits. This initiative is a part of Sam’s Club’s broader strategy to integrate digital innovations into their operations to improve convenience and customer satisfaction.

Key Takeaways

  • The AI-based technology leverages computer vision to verify purchases automatically, allowing customers to exit stores more swiftly without manual checks.
  • Pilot tests were conducted in 10 locations, with plans for expansion to nearly 600 stores by the year’s end.
  • The technology is part of a suite of digital innovations including Scan & Go and InHome Replenishment services.

Approach

Sam’s Club developed this receipt verification technology in-house, using a combination of AI and computer vision. The technology was first piloted in select locations to ensure its effectiveness and to gather initial feedback from both customers and staff.

Implementation

The technology was piloted in 10 stores initially, including nine locations in the Dallas metro area and one in Joplin, Missouri. In these pilots, the technology systems were installed at store exits where they used cameras and software algorithms to scan shopping carts and verify the purchases against what was paid for at the checkout. This system was designed to work seamlessly with Sam’s Club’s existing Scan & Go app, which allows customers to scan items and pay via the app while shopping.

Results

The initial results from the pilot locations were promising. More than half of the customers at these stores reported an improvement in their shopping experience due to reduced wait times at exits. Sam’s Club noted that the technology was not only effective in reducing exit queues but also allowed exit greeters to refocus on customer service roles, further enhancing member satisfaction.

Challenges and Barriers

One of the primary challenges faced during the implementation was the accuracy of the AI in recognizing items in various conditions and packaging types. There was also the task of training staff to trust and effectively interact with the new system, shifting from manual receipt checks to a supervisory role in case of discrepancies flagged by the system.

Future Outlook

Looking forward, Sam’s Club plans to refine and expand this technology across all its locations by the end of 2024. The company aims to continuously improve the AI’s accuracy and integration with other store systems. Long-term goals include leveraging this technology to streamline other aspects of the shopping and checkout process, enhancing overall operational efficiency and member experience.

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Sources:
Sam’s Club to bring AI-based receipt verification to all stores
​​Sam’s Club Launches New Digital Innovations Further Enhancing Members’ Shopping Experiences
Sam’s Club has a brand new AI solution to a huge issue Costco customers face


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