Walmart to track customer reactions to products via shopping carts
Retailing giant Walmart has applied for a patent to create a smart shopping cart similar to what a fitness tracker can do. The goal is to create a shopping cart that can monitor a shopper’s heart rate, body temperature, grip and walking speed.
But its not about burning calories, Walmart wants to capture shopper reactions based on what they see or feel in terms of products and prices. The patent, titled “System and Method for Biometric Feedback Cart Handle,” will have grocery carts fitted with sensors on the cart’s handle, that will transmit the data to Walmart’s servers, according to the New York Post.
“If biometric indicators show signs of an emergency, the program may also issue a broadcast throughout the store to call associates’ attention to the situation and could potentially initiate a call for emergency medical help as well,” said technology blog CBInsights.
However, not all shoppers are happy with this new development with many taking to social media to express their concerns. Susan La Duke tweeted that is was on “the list of reasons” why she would never shop at Walmart.
Add this to the list of reasons why I never shop at Walmart. 😡
Walmart's terrifying shopping cart design measures your speed and heart rate#BigBrother#InvasionOfPrivacy
https://t.co/HnTfpzD5G8 via @CNET
— Susan LaDuke (@Sjladuke75Susan) October 10, 2018
Walmart just filed a patent for a "smart shopping cart" that tracks walking speed, heart rate & temperature. 🛒🧠 pic.twitter.com/j9IEXPGsoh
— Troy Osinoff (@yo) October 10, 2018
The retail giant has also bolstered its e-commerce and grocery teams witha reshuffle of senior executives in the US.
Kieran Shanahan was promoted as the new senior vice president of e-commerce retail for everyday living while Tom Ward was named the new senior vice president of digital operations.
It also announced that Andrea Albright will take up the position of senior vice president of snacks, beverage and impulse, replacing Al Dominguez who is leaving the company after 12 years.
Bloomberg reported that Shanahan and Ward had helped expand the online grocery business prior. Walmart’s grocery segment makes up more than half its US sales.
Deutsche Bank had upgraded the shares of Walmart on Tuesday based on strength in the online grocery industry. Deutsche Bank analyst Paul Trussell said that the retail giant is “reaping returns on the many years of investment in e-commerce and customer service”, which puts the retailing giant in the best position to move forward.
Trussell also lifted his stock target from $US89 to $US113. Nuveen managing director Stephanie Link agrees that Walmart’s digital investments and acquisitions with Jet and Flipkart are a good move although she said to CNBC that Deutsche Bank’s call is a little early as Walmart still has to do some more to deliver growth.
“They [Walmart] have just started to make these investments, and you’re just starting to see some results, but I think it’s going to take a long time … I think the environment is competitive and I think what Walmart is doing is right, but I don’t necessarily want to own the stock,” she said on CNBC‘s “Halftime Report.”