Several recent patent applications by Bentonville, Ark.-based Walmart Inc. suggest the retailer is focusing on removing humans – and human error -- from the equation.
According to CB Insights, Walmart applied for a patent for an “unattended retail station” – basically, a store in a residence – that gives residents access to buyable goods from the “retail access portal on their wall.
It harkens to the vending machine model of Bodgea and the unmanned store models by Amazon Go or BingoBox, the article said.
Like a mini-bar for a house or residential complex, the units also include space for perishables.
On the fresh produce front, the retailer is working on a system that sends images of fresh produce to consumers for online orders.
These aren’t stock images. They’re images of the actual items consumers are ordering, sent for approval before the purchase is finalized.
Currently, Walmart has shoppers confirm the condition of online orders at pick-up.
The patent uses “three-dimensional scanning” and creates what it calls a “Fresh Online Experience.”