Wal-Mart Stores Inc (NYSE:WMT) will soon expand its cashierless system to several stores in coming months, as the retail superpower continues to replace more human workers with robots.
WMT’s “Scan & Go” technology will roll out to 100 locations across the United States soon, it announced this week. CNBC has more details about how the futuristic checkout process works:
Using an app, customers will scan items (even produce) on their own as they walk through the store. They will be able to pay on their phones when they’re finished. A Mobile Express lane will also be situated at the front of Walmart’s stores for those shoppers to walk through, for security purposes, before they leave.
The impetus behind these efforts is the idea that many consumers today want a speedy, seamless experience, especially when shopping for grocery items.
Of course, it’s also aimed at cutting costs. Human labor represents a massive portion of Walmart’s expenditures, seeing as the company employs 2.3 million people around the globe.
Walmart has begun using robot sweepers in many stores to keep the aisles clean as well, much to the chagrin of its janitorial staff. While these and other measures will undoubtedly help bolster the company’s bottom line, they come at a human cost — and likely won’t be too much longer before we see WMT’s headcount begin an inexorable decline as a result.
Wal-Mart Stores Inc shares rose $0.58 (+0.58%) in premarket trading Thursday. Year-to-date, WMT has gained 0.93%, versus a 2.72% rise in the benchmark S&P 500 index during the same period.