As part of their digital transformation strategy, Walmart is now allowing their customers to walk out of the store with a product and pay virtually.
This could effectively eliminate the problem of checkout lines, and cashiers would no longer be necessary. Project Kepler, as the innovation is called, seems to be in its early stages. According to Recode, the project is being led by Mike Hanrahan, a former CTO of Jet.com and its co-founder.
Comparing the project to what Amazon is trying to accomplish with its Amazon Go project in Seattle, there are numerous similarities. By taking advantage of modern technologies such as artificial intelligence and computer vision, Walmart wants to streamline the process of how we do our brick and mortar shopping.
Here’s how things work in practice: first, shoppers choose the products they want, then the products get added to a virtual cart through a mobile app.
Walmart is also working on a service for “busy NYC moms” which would allow them to order an item through a text message bot without having to pay the shipping costs, with an estimated delivery time of 24 hours. The service is geared towards household items.
Right now, testers are able to use the new service free of charge, but in the future, Walmart may introduce membership fees.
In their current form, both of Walmart’s digital transformation projects may not turn into any major consumer-facing products, as Recode believes. However, it’s safe to say that the technology and use cases could very well be transferred to other Walmart services.