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From social distancing to masks to gloves to hand sanitizers, businesses reopening in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic are utilizing unprecedented strategies to limit the spread of the coronavirus and the imminent threat of a second wave. On this snippet, MarketScale’s Business Casual co-hosts Tyler Kern and Daniel Litwin discuss Walmart’s latest efforts to confine the contagion within the mega-brand’s stores.
Considered an essential business during the pandemic, Walmart kept its doors open, shelves stocked (in most cases) and their workers employed while other businesses were forced to shut down and layoff staff. However, in April, health officials ordered the closure of a Walmart in suburban Denver as three people connected to the store died after being infected with the coronavirus and at least six employees tested positive. To prevent other closures while protecting workers and customers, earlier this week, the Walmart opted to remove cashiers and standard conveyor belt lines at one of its popular superstores in Fayetteville, Arkansas. In a testing the waters type of tactic to limit human interaction, this coronavirus-inspired solution could also help customers pay and leave the store faster. While store staffers will be ready to assist anyone who has a large order, has trouble working the machines, or just prefers having some human interaction at the checkout, if all goes well, the company could expand the concept to more of their superstores.
This cashierless test, believed to be the first at a full-fledged Supercenter, comes about a year after Walmart conducted a similar dry run of a self-checkout-only system at a Walmart Neighborhood Market (Walmart’s smaller grocery-focused chain) in Pea Ridge, Arkansas. That initial trial run was considered successful enough that the company replicated the system at a new Neighborhood Market in Coral Way, Florida that opened in back in January.
Litwin and Kern chat about Walmart’s cashierless strategy, shopper reactions as well as those of employees whose jobs may be transformed or altogether eliminated.
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