Are robo-carts coming to a Walmart near you?
Associates making cart checks in store parking lots may become a thing of the past if Walmart brings the new self-driving shopping cart it recently patented to its stores.
According to reports, Walmart’s robo-shopping cart will be equipped with motors that have attached sensors and video cameras. Shoppers will be able use their smartphones or some other device to request carts that will self-drive to the spot where the customer is located in the store. Once customers are done with their shopping and have loaded their purchases into their vehicles, the carts will return to a docking station on their own.
In its patent application, Walmart positioned the robo-carts as a means to improve the customer experience and reduce its dependence on human associates. The carts would have the added capability of roaming Walmart stores to check on inventory levels. Humans, freed from the task of rounding up carts, could concentrate on other activities such as filling holes on shelves identified by the new carts.
“While it’s too early to determine how we would even potentially use this technology, our goal always is to find ways to help simplify processes to help our associates better serve our customers as they will continue to play a critical role in the success of our business,” the retailer responded in a company statement.
- Coming to a Walmart near you? Robo-shopping carts – Moneywatch
- Walmart wants shoppers to be able to hail a cart – CNN
- Self-driving carts could be coming to Walmart – Quartz
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: Do you see a strong business case for self-driving shopping carts at Walmart and other chains? Are there other uses of technology to improve operations that you think would be a better investment than robo-carts?