When Amazon launched its first Go store in 2018, the public lined up around the block to see the future of retail: a new experience where you could walk in, grab something off the shelf, and walk out. Sure, there were cameras on the ceiling and AI on computers tracking silently from above, but the promise was convenience through automation–maybe not The Jetsons, but a better 7/11 for certain.
Now Walmart has shared its version of the future of brick-and-mortar retail, the Intelligent Retail Lab, or IRL for short. Unlike Go, it doesn’t feature any futuristic user experience. There’s no automated checkout or similar whiz-bang head turner that people will Instagram about. Instead, IRL can track Walmart’s inventory in real time with unprecedented efficiency, making sure every item on every shelf is always in stock.
Rethinking the entire shopping experience, as Amazon Go has done, was not on the table. “It’s just not a priority for us right now, as we think about it,” says Mike Hanrahan, CEO of IRL (which is technically a startup within Walmart itself). Instead, the IRL store has 1,500 cameras hanging from the ceiling to ensure that when you walk up to the meat section, there’s in stock. “If you have really good inventory, it leads to a better managed store,” says Hanrahan. And a better managed store is a more profitable one.
Walmart IRL Lab Showcases AI and Inventory Management was last modified: May 1st, 2019 by News Editor
In the Wild – SEVA at Walmart check-in kiosk (take a number)
Seva operates microstores in Walmart and for customer check-in you take a number though you use a kiosk to get the number. The kiosk is a tablet which is sandwiched between black particle board on spinning lazy susan (as they say here in the states). I might call it the Black Oreo.
In the Wild – Seva at Walmart was last modified: November 29th, 2017 by News Editor
[Editor Note] Thanks to Steve Taylor of Taylor Stands for the following information.
Recently Walmart had a ruling in California go against it in the case of improper ADA access for its self-checkout terminals. Here is part of the argument which settled the case. Walmart settled the case but we of course were interested in why.
POS terminals allow customers to input sensitive and private information in a secure manner such as their Personal Information Number (PIN); submit debit or credit card data by swiping a payment card; verify, authorize or cancel a transaction; submit a signature; provide the consumer with the option to select to receive cash-back from their account; select an amount of cash back to be provided; and perform other affiliated tasks which involve inputting, correcting, cancelling or entering information that is personal or affects access to personal information and finances.
POS terminals at most stores are mounted at inaccessible heights so that customers who use wheelchairs or scooters have to struggle to process their payment securely or cannot see the display screens or independently use the terminals. For years store owners have known (or not) of the discriminatory impact of its inaccessible POS terminals for its customers with mobility disabilities, yet continues to provide only, -inaccessible devices in many of its stores. A reliable accessible mounting solution for POS terminals are now readily available that provides secure, independent and equal access.
As a result of the height and positioning of POS terminals at typical stores, -to successfully complete a transaction, many customers in wheelchairs and scooters are forced to struggle with inaccessible equipment during the purchase/check-out process.
Customers with disabilities must stretch and strain just to try and see the information displayed on these screens and enter the necessary PIN or sign for a credit card transaction. Often, customers with disabilities cannot see all the information that is displayed. At times, customers with disabilities cannot enter their PIN or sign their signatures without great difficulty if at all. Conducting debit and credit card transactions requires many of these customers to request assistance from cashiers to input information and/or provide signatures on their behalf.
Some customers with disabilities who do not wish to reveal private information to cashiers or have cashiers sign on their behalf are completely precluded from using the POS terminals at checkout stands at stores. These customers are required to either use cash, which they may not wish to do for a variety of reasons, or leave the store without purchasing any items.
Title III of the ADA entitles disabled individuals to the full and equal enjoyment of the goods, services, facilities, privileges, advantages, or accommodations of any place of public accommodation. 42 U.S.C. §12182(a). LINK)
Title III prohibits public accommodations from excluding an individual with a disability or a class of individuals with disabilities on the basis of a disability or disabilities of such individual or class, from participating in or benefiting from the goods, services, facilities, privileges, advantages or accommodations of the entity or otherwise discriminating against a person on the basis of disability. 42 U.S.C. § 12182(b)(1)(A)(i). LINK)
Title III prohibits public accommodations from affording an individual or class of individuals with a disability, on the basis of a disability or disabilities of such individual or class, with the opportunity to participate in or benefit from a good, service, facility, privilege, advantage, or accommodation that is not equal to that afforded other individuals. 42 U.S.C. § 12182(b)(1)(A)(ii). LINK)
Title III prohibits public accommodations from providing an individual or class of individuals, on the basis of a disability or disabilities of such individual or class, with a good, service, facility, privilege, advantage, or accommodation that is different or separate from that provided to other individuals. 42 U.S.C. §12182(b)(1)(A)(iii). LINK)
Title III provides that goods, services, facilities, privileges, advantages, and accommodations shall be afforded to an individual with a disability in the most integrated setting appropriate to the needs of the individual. 42 U.S.C. § 12182(b)(l)(B). LINK)
Title III provides that an individual with a disability shall not be denied the opportunity to participate in such programs or activities that are not separate or different. 42 U.S.C. § 12182(b)(1)(C). LINK)
Title III defines discrimination to include the failure of a public accommodation to make reasonable modifications in policies, practices, or procedures, when such modifications are necessary to afford such goods, services, facilities, privileges, advantages or accommodations to individuals with disabilities; to take such steps as may be necessary to ensure that no individual with a disability is excluded, denied services, segregated or otherwise treated differently that other individuals because of the absences of auxiliary aids and services; and to remove architectural barriers that are structural in nature, in existing facilities where such removal is readily achievable. 42 U.S.C. §12182(b)(2)(A)(ii)-(iv). LINK)
Title III further defines discrimination as a public accommodation’s failure to design and construct facilities that are readily accessible to and usable by individuals with disabilities (later than 30 months after July 26, 1990) and, with respect to a facility or part thereof that is altered by, on behalf of, or for the use of an establishment in a manner that affects or could affect the usability of the facility or part thereof, a failure to make alterations in such a manner that, to the maximum extent feasible the altered portions of the facility are readily accessible to and usable by individuals with disabilities. 42 U.S.C. § 12183(a)(1)-(2). LINK)
A place of public accommodation. See 42 U.S.C. § 12181(7)(E). Link)
Merchants who violate Title III of the ADA by failing to make reasonable modifications to its policies, practices, or procedures to ensure that POS terminals are accessible to customers with mobility disabilities can face fines and an Accessibility TITLE III lawsuit.
Merchants who violate Title III of the ADA by failing to remove barriers to its POS terminals should have removal of such barriers to become readily achievable. A person who sues is likely entitled to injunctive relief. 42 U.S.C. § 12888. LINK)
IF IN CALIFORNIA:
A permanent injunction pursuant to the ADA and the Unruh Act requiring a merchant to institute and implement policies and procedures that ensure that individuals in wheelchairs or scooters have on discriminatory, full and equal independent access to POS terminals so that they may use credit or debit cards to conduct non-cash transactions when purchasing retail goods.