Walmart Aims to Best Amazon in Checkout-Less Stores

Walmart is reportedly launching both a personal shopper service targeted at rich New Yorkers, and a checkout-less store experience a la Amazon Go, according a report in Recode.

The personal shopping service, called Code Eight, will reportedly let shoppers get product recommendations and make purchases via text messages. It includes free 24-hour shipping on household items, two business days for other goods, and free return pickup at the customer’s dwelling.

Code Eight is a free service while it’s being tested, but Walmart will eventually charge a subscription, the report said. It is headed up by Rent the Runway co-founder Jennifer Fleiss.

Meanwhile Walmart’s startup incubator Store No. 8 has Project Kepler, Recode reports, which calls for physical stores without cashiers or checkout registers. It may either be a retrofit of existing stores or more likely, be integrated into new ones.

Amazons Go, announced a year ago, has yet to go live. Recode reports that the technology, which uses a combination of sensors and cameras to track what shoppers take off the shelves to automatically bill them, has not worked well in tests at crowded stores. It remains to be seen if Walmart will be able to leapfrog them with Project Kepler.