Walmart Follows Amazon In Testing Mobile Self-Checkout

by Raymond Pucci 0

Mobile payment concept, Blur supermarket background, business and financial, technology.

No need to stop at the store checkout—the merchandise you selected has just been charged to your designated payment card. That would be the mobile self-checkout system that Walmart is reportedly testing as the following article reports.

Walmart is testing an automated physical store concept, Recode reported Wednesday. Similar to the Amazon Go store idea, Walmart’s concept, dubbed Project Kepler, reportedly uses computer vision to track and automatically bill customers’ purchases, eliminating the need for human cashiers.

If picked up, the concept may push the boundaries of the standard retail store, and reduce the need for human employees, especially cashiers. Several of Walmart’s 2 million-plus employees work the checkout—what will happen to them?

Recode noted that the new concept, if rolled out, could act as a supplement to normal Walmart stores, reducing the need to cut human jobs. The new stores could serve different areas and populations, growing the brand.

In the e-commerce sphere, Walmart is also experimenting with letting customers shop at their stores via text message. Guests may be able to text a photo of a specific item or a general description to a bot, which will select an item and add it to their order. The bots will use machine learning and natural language processing to provide the best items.

Both projects are in the early stages, Recode reported, but show how traditionally physical stores are adapting to keep up with a customer base increasingly shifting to online shopping. They may take awhile to come to fruition: Amazon’s Go store has not yet opened after it was announced a year ago.

Mobile self-checkout provides in-a-hurry and impatient shoppers with a sought-after solution. Just grab and go—your items are seamlessly paid for. Ideal for C-stores’ customer shopping habits, Walmart is looking to copy the Amazon Go concept store. However the complexity of the technology has delayed the Amazon store for over a year. Whether Walmart can be faster to opening its store to the public remains to be seen. Watch for more experiments of this kind especially in smaller-size stores that can provide another integrated feature to their merchant mobile payment apps.

Overview by Raymond Pucci, Associate Director, Research Services Advisory Service at Mercator Advisory Group

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