During BJ’s Q4 2021 earnings call, Bob Eddy, president and CEO, said its checkout technology launched that quarter and provides the ability to “skip the checkout lines using your phone.” He said the company is leveraging solutions “to deliver a more convenient experience for our members.”
“The club channel has never been thought of as the most convenient place to shop,” added Eddy. “Our digital assets are changing that paradigm, and we believe our members will increasingly reward us for that.”
Walmart alleges it filed patents for its checkout technology from 2018 to 2020, first featuring its Scan & Go offering on the mobile app in 2016 before Express Pay entered the area in late 2021. However, BJ’s checkout solution began its piloting process in 2017, serving limited clubs in Connecticut, New Hampshire, Florida, and New York, following the launch of its new mobile app.
In the lawsuit, Walmart asked the court to award it unspecified damages, as the company suffered "irreparable injury" and BJs “upended years of hard work.” The company also asked the court to bar BJ's from continuing to infringe on the patents.
BJ's has not yet filed any motions in the case.
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Retailers have gone to great lengths to provide consumers with a frictionless experience, particularly across check-out amid the pandemic to eliminate the need for close contact.
Late last year, for example, Royal Farms equipped all of its 250-plus stores with self-checkout solutions. Last September, Hy-Vee launched a new mobile payment technology — Hy-Vee Scan & Go — as well as self-checkout options for a contactless shopping experience. Additionally, computer vision and augmented reality continue to play an increasingly important role in the consumer shopping experience.