Big-box retailer Walmart is taking yet another shot at nemesis Amazon—this time, with new convenient checkout options.
The Bentonville, Ark.-based mega-chain opened a new Coral Way, Fla. Neighborhood Market location last week.
The store offers a buy online, pick up in-store (BOPIS) grocery option, same-day grocery delivery, roaming associates to help shoppers check out on the spot (known as “Check Out With Me” in Walmart parlance), and fully automated self-checkout lanes designed for large carts. Customers can check out on their own or request help from an associate in scanning and bagging their items.
The opening of the Florida store follows what Walmart described as a successful prior launch in Arkansas, which featured similar checkout options.
The mega store franchise has experimented in recent years with an omnichannel approach, bolstering its online presence and offering free, one-day shipping to rival Amazon Prime.
A vast network of brick-and-mortar locations still form the bread and butter of the longstanding chain’s retail strategy, however. Walmart has continuously implemented a number of convenience-driven features to draw shoppers in and get them out, quickly.
Patrick Shanks, regional vice president of Neighborhood Market operations, believes store associates will appreciate offloading manual tasks to automated technology.
“Associates across the country tell us they want to spend less time on repetitive tasks and more time helping customers,” he said. “By expanding self-checkout and adding Check Out With Me, associates will be on the sales floor where they can help customers—fast.”
Last spring, the retailer debuted “Fast Lane” at a new store in Toronto, allowing consumers to avoid cashiers and registers altogether.
Instead, the system allows them to scan each item in their cart using the Walmart app, and then walk through the in-store Fast Lane with an app-generated bar code. The credit card on their Walmart account is charged when the code is scanned.
The system seems to respond to Amazon Go, the collection of physical convenience stores owned by the online mega-retailer. The franchise’s claim to fame is its cashierless checkout system, designed to allow Amazon Prime members to walk out of the store with their selections without interacting with store staff.
Consumers undoubtedly value the quick and seamless nature of alternate checkout methods, a new study from Sensormatic Solutions, a Swiss retail solutions company, revealed.
Point-of-sale stations are especially popular venues for automation, with more than half (55 percent) of shoppers saying they “always” or “usually” use self-checkout to make an in-store purchase.