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Walmart is bringing to the Valley what might be the future of how customers checkout in stores. (AP Photo)

PHOENIX -- Walmart is bringing to the Valley what might be the future of how customers checkout in stores.

The world's largest retailer introduced a program called "Scan & Go" last year to about 70 stores in Atlanta and Arkansas, where the company is headquartered.

The new program allows customers to scan items with their smartphones while shopping and later pay for them at self-checkout terminals.

Ashley Hardie, a spokeswoman for Walmart, explained what the new smartphone integration does for customers.

"Customers can use the Walmart iPhone app to scan the barcode of the items they would like to purchase," Hardie said. "The app keeps a list of all scanned items, allowing costumers to track their spending and bag items as they shop."

Hardie said the system uses QR codes, which are similar to barcodes, to call up all the items a customer has scanned.

"When you approach a self-checkout, you can scan the QR code that's displayed on the screen with your iPhone and this will wirelessly transfer the scanned items to the register," Hardie said. "And then complete the payment just as you would with any other transaction."

Scanning the items while shopping allows customers to avoid having to scan all their items at the checkout terminals, which could reduce lines and time spent waiting to pay.

Walmart originally implemented the program in response to changes in the way consumers were purchasing items, Hardie said.

"Our customers are shopping differently than they ever have before. They're using their mobile devices to search for coupons and compare prices," Hardie said. "So in order to meet their needs, we're experimenting with innovative technologies like mobile checkout."

The expansion has now jumped the program to more than 200 stores, in major cities including Dallas, Denver and Seattle. It has also come to nearly 30 Valley locations including Chandler, Phoenix, Mesa and Glendale.

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