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Wednesday, December 5, 2018

Walmart accepting cash for in-store online ordering

Just in time for holiday shoppers, Walmart introduced Order and Pay. It's a new in-store ordering option that enables shoppers in physical store locations to order and pay for items that aren't available in the store. Consumers work with Walmart associates on the floor to process online orders from Walmart's Dotcom store and then pay for the items at the physical POS, along with other items selected from the shelves (if any).

Consumers can pay with cash, credit and debit cards, checks, and Walmart Pay. The ability to pay with cash is expected to appeal to the unbanked and underbanked, who may not have access to other payment methods or who simply prefer to use cash.

"We've known for some time that the future of the retail store will mean blurring the lines between online and offline stores, and leaders like Walmart are making this more and more into a permanent reality," stated Gavin Bisdee, Vice President of Global Marketing at Zynstra Ltd., a provider of intelligent infrastructure for retailers. "This new service from Walmart will enhance the in-store experience for consumers, making the buying process even more convenient and frictionless. It also tees up the ability to improve the productivity of Walmart store associates, giving them more cross-sell and upsell opportunities."

Online-offline blend a growing trend

Walmart isn't the only retailer to provide sales associates apps that facilitate blending of online an offline channels. Since October 2017, Target associates have been able to use their in-store devices to create online orders for customers. Associates have mobile card readers for shoppers who want to pay quickly on the floor and avoid waiting in line at the POS. Amazon operates its Whole Foods subsidiary stores, as well as its own brick-and-mortar locations, including the cashierless Amazon Go and Amazon 4-star stores, where online and offline services are both in the mix. "At its core, this move from Walmart is one step further in seamlessly merging its online and offline experiences to ensure that the brand is present in all the channels the customer wants to shop in," said Danielle Roberts, Senior Product Manager at Kibo, a provider of omnichannel commerce software. "With this move, when a consumer says, 'I saw this product on your website,' the Walmart associate will have one more digital tool within his/her arsenal to not only save the sale but instantly improve the experience for the shopper."

Roberts also pointed out that the initiative provides an easier way for associates to find merchandise consumers are looking for. "If you rely only on in-store inventory to save the sale, you run the risk of a product not being where it should be which is in the hands of the shopper – especially with the added chaos of the holidays," she noted. "All in all, the primary competitive advantage Walmart and other traditional retailers have over Amazon is leveraging their many stores to provide a better consumer experience. At least for now, Amazon does not have that option."

The Order and Pay service is now available year-round at 4,700 Walmart stores. It includes items featured on Walmart.com, but not yet its marketplace fare. end of article

Editor's Note:

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