Walmart has filed a patent application for a system that would allow customers to view individual fresh items remotely before purchasing them.
The “Fresh Online Experience,” or FOE, would allow customers to order produce, meat and bakery items online using stock photos, but then have the opportunity to approve the actual items being purchased via image scans (either two- or three-dimensional) sent to them by Walmart store workers. Once an item is approved by the customer, an “edible watermark” could be applied to the item before it was packaged for pickup or delivery to verify that it was the item the shopper had selected.
The system could also be automated to reduce the involvement of store personnel, according to the filing.
The patent application is one of several that Walmart has filed related to e-commerce. Last year, the company filed an application for a patent on a blimp-style drone for delivery, and another for a mini-store build into consumers’ homes that could be stocked from outside by Walmart delivery workers and accessed by shoppers inside the home.
All this is part of Walmart’s fight for grocery dominance; grocery already representing over half of Walmart’s revenue. Outside of patents, in December 2017 Walmart unveiled a meal kit option and a partnership with Buzzfeed that will integrate Buzzfeed recipes with Walmart groceries.
Source: Supermarket News
Why It’s Hot
With online grocery sales predicted to grow to $100 billion by 2025, it’s fascinating to watch how players big and small try to get their share.