Walmart is currently testing Amazon-style screens that let shoppers order out-of-stock items from an online service while in-store.
“We’re testing how to interact with the customer differently, understanding better how they want to shop,” said Walmart CFO Brett Briggs.
“In addition to simply ordering a product that isn’t available in stores, the touchscreens can also suggest items for shoppers,” reported Consumerist on Wednesday. “For example, Briggs said that customers shopping for a gift can use the screen to input the details about the recipient and the system will provide a list of best-selling products and where they’re located in the store.”
“If the item isn’t available in the store, the customer will have the option to purchase it online,” they continued.
In November, Lowe’s Hardware Store debuted a bilingual customer service robot that shows users where to find specific items in-store by rolling around and taking them there itself.
LoweBot, which has been spotted around several San Francisco Bay Area stores, wanders through aisles and approaches people, asking whether it can be of any service, and uses a series of cameras and lasers to navigate the shop.
“I’m Lowe’s Robot helper. I can tell you where things are in the store,” announces the robot as it approaches customers. “Can I help you find something?”
Both Lowe’s and Walmart appear to be using increased technological involvement in their stores to compete with the wave of online stores, such as Amazon, which allow users to find products immediately and hardly ever run out of stock.