HOBOKEN, N.J. – At Store No. 8—Walmart’s startup lab—has been working on Project Kepler, which is trying to re-envision the in-store shopping experience via technology, Recode reports. The project focuses on physical locations that would not have checkout lanes or cashiers, similar to Amazon Go stores.
Mike Hanrahan, co-founder and former chief technology officer for Jet.com, which Walmart recently acquired, leads Project Kepler. Walmart will likely use a similar system to Amazon Go, which has cameras and sensors to track what shoppers place in their baskets. What isn’t clear is how Walmart will use the technology—whether to replace cashiers at checkouts in current locations or in a new story concept.
Meanwhile, Walmart subsidiary Code Eight has started testing a new service for “busy NYC moms” that will provide product recommendations and allow for purchases via text messaging. The target audience for the personal shopping service is wealthy urban residents.
The service would deliver items within 24 hours for free, with other purchases arriving within two business days. Returns are initiated from the customer’s home or apartment building for free as well. Early testing has users texting photos of the products wanted or sending a text message.