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Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Walmart Testing Cashierless

Our future, an expectation?

Inside Walmart’s journey to cashierless retail
 by Suman Bhattacharyya in DigiDay

Walmart is testing the waters of cashier automation, first by letting customers scan and pay for items within an app, and now, giving in-store reps the ability to help customers pay on mobile devices.

It’s also studying customer comfort levels with automated payments. At this point, it’s not ready to get rid of cashiers — they’ll just be part of a bigger menu of customer checkout choices, according to Walmart rep Ragan Dickens.

Dickens would not comment on whether fully automated stores are in its plans. But for the past two months, it’s been testing an Apple-store type concept called “Check out with Me” at 350 stores. It gives the agent the ability to check out a customer on a mobile device. Once the transaction is completed, a copy of the digital receipt is sent to the customer via email or text. Dickens said early results are encouraging, and the retailer plans to roll out this service to more stores.

Walmart’s experiment with combining the physical and digital retail experience is an example of how a large, legacy retailer is combining the strength of a long-established physical presence combined with tech innovations — a hybrid model that may fit the needs of a broad swath of customers with varying levels of comfort with technology. Its tests to reduce dependence on traditional checkout counters center around two models: scan and go, which requires the customer to download an app or use a store-provided mobile device to self-scan items, and an Apple store-type model which puts the cashier capability in the hands of roving employees, who, with mobile devices in hand, complete checkouts for customers. ... " 

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