Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. That may be the case as Walmart is reportedly looking to introduce its own Amazon Dash-type product ordering device. According to the following report, Walmart is developing the technology via patent applications.
Wal-Mart Stores Inc. has applied for a patent for technology similar to the Amazon Dash one-button ordering device, its latest swing at the Seattle-based ecommerce behemoth, CB Insights has reported. Originally filed last October, the application details a system that would require even less effort than Amazon’s, which launched more than two years ago and now can be used for more than 300 products. The Bentonville, Ark.-based mega-retailer’s technology would require less effort than Amazon’s, integrating the Internet of Things (IoT) into the products themselves without requiring user input or the push of a button for reordering, making the process automatic.
The application describes adding IoT tags to products based on Bluetooth, radio frequency, infrared, near-field communication or other technology. Tags could monitor product usage and auto-order replacements or refills, as well as track expiration dates and product recalls. Additional capabilities could include gathering customer data, with tags tracking usage frequency and times, as well as developing personalized advertising, predicting demand management and developing more detailed customer profiles.
Walmart’s new filing isn’t its first IoT-focused one in recent times: CB Insights shows that the company has also filed patents for technology such as augmented-reality glasses to guide shoppers through the store and build AR shopping lists. It has additionally applied for patents concerning drones, with the intent of using them for moving products around stores or monitoring fresh produce.
Walmart reportedly wants to jump into to the one button product ordering system that consumers can trigger from the comfort of their homes. This might be a leapfrog maneuver over Amazon’s Dash by developing a no-touch button that integrates with IoT enabled home appliances that will automatically order supplies that run low. Walmart figures that given its warehouse and distribution expertise, this is another way to show that it’s no slouch in trying keeping up with Amazon.
Overview by Raymond Pucci, Associate Director, Research Services Advisory Service at Mercator Advisory Group
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