For a while now Walmart has been playing the retail game by Amazon’s rules, pre-empting the e-commerce giant’s moves at every turn. The new development is two tests that Walmart is reportedly running for select customers.
Cashier-less shopping is being tested at Walmart’s Store No. 8 incubator, and is called Project Kepler. According to sources, it could be a model similar to what the Amazon Go trials were all about.
Using sensors and cameras to automate the billing process, Project Kepler hopes to create a cashier-free environment for an enhanced physical shopping experience. Amazon Go is still under testing, and is facing trouble when its test store is crowded. Walmart may have similar issues as well.
The other project is a less ambitious one, but leverages high net worth urban individuals by offering them a personalized shopping experience. Texting their needs or even sending a picture can generate an order that ships to them in as little as 24 hours.
The personalized experience is probably in conflict with the majority of Walmart shoppers. Discounts generally don’t go with a highly personalized valet-type experience.
The company isn’t making any of this public for now, which means we don’t know how far along the tests have gotten or how much success they’ve had so far on the technology front.
One thing is certain: that Walmart isn’t going to give Amazon any room to craft the future of the retail industry.
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