Last time I was at Sam’s Club I noticed their Scan and Go feature, and call me old school – but I was CONFUSED.
What exactly is Sam’s Club Scan and Go and how do you use it? We’ll walk you through it…
What Is Sam’s Club Scan & Go?
Scan & Go checkout is a quick and efficient mobile payment service for Sam’s Club members for use instore or at Sam’s Club fuel stations. The service is accessed via the Sam’s Club app. It was introduced to allow shoppers to select and scan groceries as they shopped, thus eliminating the need to queue at checkouts.
This article takes a look at Sam’s Club Scan & Go mobile payment technology: what it is, how it works, how to use it, and what shoppers think of it.
How Does Sam’s Club Scan & Go Work?
Members simply scan items as they shop, pay via the app, present the transaction to a cashier, and then exit the club without needing to remove purchased items from the trolley.
The barcodes on groceries are scanned using personal smart phones (both Android and iPhone) to which shoppers have downloaded the Sam’s Club app. This means you’re completing the checkout process as you shop.
Your items are logged into the app, tallied up for payment, and the process completed via a checkout screen. The shopper then displays the digital receipt to a cashier and leaves the store.
Sam’s Club Plus members can opt to have groceries and other retail items delivered. This means that with Scan & Go (or Scan & Ship, which is an extra feature integrated into Scan & Go), members can shop large and bulky items instore without having to handle them. They can have items delivered, usually within three to five business days and all with one digital transaction.
How Do You Use Sam’s Club Scan & Go?
First, you’ll need to purchase a paid membership to Sam’s Club. There are two to choose from: the Club membership ($45 per year) or Plus membership ($100 per year). Then head to the app store and download the Sam’s Club app – you’ll need a smartphone.
With the Sam’s Club app, you can:
- Use Scan & Go – instore and at the fuel pump
- Select Pickup – shop in the app, then schedule a free pickup time and Sam’s Club will have your order ready when you arrive
- Access your shopping lists – all your shopping lists are saved
- Pharmacy – transfer prescriptions, request refills and manage prescriptions for the whole family
- Membership – easy access to your membership card and details
- Shop and ship directly to your home or workplace – Plus members get free shipping, Club members pay a shipping fee
Thus, Scan & Go is just one of the Sam’s Club app features. So, once you’ve got the app, use the following steps to access the Scan & Go service:
- Sign into your account – you’ll need an email and a password, and your membership needs to be current.
- You’ll then see a welcome message and the name of the club you’re shopping in.
- You should also see a scanner button. Tap this to scan the barcode of each item you want to buy.
What Do The Scan & Go Signing In Error Messages Mean?
There are a number of error codes that can occur when you begin your Scan & Go shopping experience. The most common error code indicates that your sign in details don’t match.
When this happens, you get three attempts before your account will be locked for 15 minutes for security reasons. Sam’s Club recommend resetting your password – this will give you immediate access to your account and Scan & Go.
- There was a problem logging in – caused by server issues. Sam’s Club recommend signing in again or re installing the (latest version of) the app.
- It’s that time, renew today – unfortunately, your Sam’s Club membership needs to be renewed before you can log in and use Scan & Go. Sam’s Club recommend renewing your membership immediately (you can do this online) before proceeding to Scan & Go.
- Please use a register: Sorry, guest membership can’t use Scan & Go – a Sam’s Club guest member is a shopper without membership and who pays an upcharge fee of 10%. Guests are not eligible for shipping, store pickup, or Scan & Go. IN this case, the only solution is to purchase a membership (either Club or Plus).
- Your membership card was recently reported lost or stolen – this means your account is locked, and you’ll need to see a service member to re-activate.
- Your membership is inactive. Please ask for help at the Membership Services desk– this means your membership has expired. (You can renew online.)
- Sorry, we don’t support this version anymore. Try out the new one! – this means Sam’s Club has done a forced update, and shoppers need to delete their app and install the new one.
- Scan & Go is temporarily down at the moment. Please check out at a register today and try the app next time you come in– unfortunately this happens! You have no choice but to use a register this time.
What Do The Scan & Go Scanning Error Messages Mean?
You may receive error messages while you’re shopping. This is pretty common and shouldn’t be too much of a problem. Common errors and solutions include:
- Item not added. Please scan again – this means that Scan & Go app couldn’t read the barcode, an incorrect barcode was scanned, or the item is no longer in the system. Sam’s Club recommend you scan the item again, look for a different barcode on the item, scan the shelf barcode instead of the item code, or enter the UPC (universal product code) manually into “item lookup”.
- Try scanning the barcode on the shelf or item sign – this means Scan & Go can’t find your item. When this happens, you may be trying to scan the shelf code of the weighted item rather than the barcode on the product’s packaging.
- Please use register – some items are restricted and can only be purchased at a register.
- Sorry, we’re having a little trouble. Please try again (code 504) – this means the server is not responding/timing out. Sam’s Club advise shoppers to try again as the issues should only be temporary.
- Please use register. Sorry for the inconvenience (Code 01) – this means the system has encountered a problem with your payment method. When this happens, you’ll need to change your payment method.
- Sorry your payment was declined – again, you’ll need to try another payment method.
- Sorry, we’re having a little trouble. Please try again (code 3013) – annoyingly, this can happen often. Shoppers report having to log out and sign in again as the only solution.
- Please review marked items – this usually refers to the CVV number on your credit card (it wasn’t entered or was entered incorrectly).
- When you shop, your app is scanning single items, multiple times or items that you weren’t trying to scan (happens only with Android devices). When this keeps happening, turn the “Continuous scan” feature to OFF (upper righthand corner of screen).
How Do You Pay With Scan & Go?
You can add three payment options to the app, and these are major credit cards, Sam’s cash, and EBT/SNAP funds.
You can’t use gift cards for payment (although you can purchase them) and there is a maximum order size of $750 per day, but there is no minimum order total required.
Non members can’t use the service at all, and the purchase of alcohol is subject to identification and age restrictions. As yet, the Scan & Go technology is only available though smart phones and cannot be accessed via Ipads or tablets of any kind, and it cannot be used on Microsoft phones.
Your receipts are all stored in the app and are available for export and printing.
Can I Use My EBT SNAP Card For Purchasing With Scan & Go?
Shoppers can use a range of payments with Scan & Go, including Sam’s Cash, EBT (electronic benefit transfer) cards and all major credit cards.
Once you open the Scan & Go mobile application and finish scanning your items, you’ll proceed to a checkout screen. There you’ll see the “Add an EBT card” button. Once you’ve added your EBT/SNAP card, you can “Slide to pay”, verify your PIN, and proceed to a cashier to show your transaction QR code.
Note that SNAP items are clearly shown on the Scan & Go checkout screen, and that SNAP purchase via Scan & Go are available as instore purchases only.
Does Scan & Go Encourage Theft?
The Scan & Go system was designed as a convenient time saver for customers, giving them more control over the supermarket checkout system. However, it does allow for theft, and so Sam’s Club carry out “randomized checkout control” measures in all stores.
Arandomised checkout control uses an algorithm to randomly select baskets for checking before they leave the store. The selection is completely random, and any shopper can be selected. The check is not based on shopper behaviour, basket contents, or a customer’s skill using Scan & Go. Customers are not followed around the store and scrutinized as they shop.
If a customer’s basket is selected for a random check, the Scan & Go mobile app prompts them to go to the designated kiosk area where a cashier will check that the contents of their basket (or trolley) match the tally in the app.
The idea behind the randomized checkout control strategy is that the regularity of the checks will discourage potential thieves from trying to exit the store with goods not scanned and paid for.
Is Sam’s Club Scan & Go A Good Service?
Sam’s Club developed and introduced Scan & Go for a range of very specific reasons. Most of all, the technology aims to save customers time and give them more control over their shopping experiences.
Other useful features include:
- Ability to skip checkout queues regardless of how busy the store
- Being able to use it for gas and alcohol purchases
- Scan & Go tracks your spending with a built-in budgeting tool
- The app helps stores keep to Covid distancing regulations
- You can see a running total while you shop – no more total cost shock at the checkout
- You can edit as you shop – in other words, you can delete or change quantities in the app
- You can make returns easily at customer service by showing your e-receipt
- All your receipts are kept in one place for easy retrieval
- Item scanning is fast and easy
- Regular Scan & Go offers for shoppers are useful
- You can purchase everything this way, including alcohol, fuel, and gift cards
Features of concern include:
- Frustration with error codes
- Complaints that when the app is upgraded it no longer works at all
- Scanning problems while shopping – duplicating items or adding unwanted items which the shopper isn’t aware of
- Customers having to wait and have baskets/trollies checked every time they shop, which defeats the purpose of Scan & Go in the first place
- Issues with the app charging a card which is not the default card
- App loading slowly or not at all
- Updates not downloading
- Feeling that constant error codes and issues with the app make the shopping process slower than simply lining up in a checkout queue
- Older shoppers and less tech savvy customers find the technology difficult to use and worry that the “old way” of checking out will soon be eliminated
- Minimizes human interaction
- Many customers resent the need for security checks. This can make the task uncomfortable and daunting for staff.
Want to learn more about Sam’s Club? Check out our related articles here to learn:
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Sam’s Club introduced Scan & Go in 2014 as a pilot programme and used consumer response to direct development of the application for all Sam’s Club stores and fuel stations.
Customer responses were consistently positive, and the system was introduced across the chain.
Shoppers use the app to scan their groceries as they select them and then pay via the app.
After showing a cashier the receipt (via the app) customers are free to leave the store and pack the groceries into their car.
Being able to skip checkout queues has been the most popular feature of the technology.