Wal-Mart Stores has completed a nationwide rollout of its mobile payment system, saying the capability would improve checkout speed and convenience for shoppers, while strengthening the retailer's connection of digital and physical shopping.
"This is not about payment for payment's sake," Daniel Eckert, SVP of services for Walmart, said during a demonstration of the technology at a Walmart Supercenter in Rogers, Ark. last month attended by SN. "This is about looking at the overall checkout experience and saying, 'How can we improve our customer experience and get them faster through that lane?'"
Checkout is one area in which Walmart has focused efforts to improve the customer experience over the last year. "Customers tell us that time is just as valuable a currency to save as money, and this technology allows us to do both," Eckert said.
Customers can use Walmart Pay on any mobile phone as part of the Walmart app and is capable of using any payment form that stores accept. Customers using the app simply scan once. The app notifies shoppers when their payment is accepted and provides an electronic receipt.
The capability would appear to have the potential to be a source of cost savings and other benefits for Walmart, particularly if it gains widespread adoption by customers.
Eckert in June said that pilot stores, which launched the Walmart Pay capability in December, were adding an average of six to 10 new pay customers every day, and that 85% of Walmart Pay transactions were from repeat customers. Walmart last week said that figure was now 88%.
"It's the kind of thing that once you try it, you never want to do it any other way," Eckert said.
Boosted in part by the recent introductions of pay applications by Apple, Google and Samsung, the value of mobile payments are expected to more than triple in the U.S. next year, according to the research firm eMarketer, and account for more than $210 billion in retail sales by 2019.
"It's one thing to have an app and a [shopper] profile. But when you have an app, a profile and payment, you have a real ability to unlock more capabilities to improve the shopping experience," Eckerd said. For example, he said, customers using the Walmart app today can renew a prescription from home, schedule a pickup time and pick up and pay all while using their mobile phone.
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