from the amazon-knows-your-spouse-better-than-you-do dept.
Amazon is testing a brick-and-mortar concept store that would allow shoppers to pick items off the shelf and leave without waiting in a line:
Amazon.com Inc said on Monday it has opened a brick-and-mortar grocery store in Seattle without lines or checkout counters, kicking off new competition with supermarket chains.
Amazon Go, the online shopping giant's new 1,800-square-foot (167-square-meter) store, uses sensors to detect what shoppers have picked off the shelf and bills it to their Amazon account if they do not put it back.
The store marks Amazon's latest push into groceries, one of the biggest retail categories it has yet to master. The company currently delivers produce and groceries to homes through its AmazonFresh service.
"It's a great recognition that their e-commerce model doesn't work for every product," said analyst Jan Dawson of Jackdaw Research, noting that physical stores would complement AmazonFresh. "If there were hundreds of these stores around the country, it would be a huge threat" to supermarket chains, he said.
It'll feel like shoplifting, except you're actually being watched by more cameras than you can imagine.
Walmart is boosting minimum pay across all of its stores and handing out bonuses. The CEO says that it's thanks to tax reform:
Wal-Mart Stores Inc. is boosting its starting hourly wage to $11 and delivering bonuses to employees, capitalizing on the U.S. tax overhaul to stay competitive in a tightening labor market.
The increase takes effect next month and will cost $300 million on top of wage hikes that were already planned, the world's largest retailer said Thursday. The one-time bonus of up to $1,000 is based on seniority and will amount to an additional $400 million. The company is also expanding its maternity and parental leave policy and adding an adoption benefit.
"Tax reform gives us the opportunity to be more competitive globally and to accelerate plans for the U.S.," Chief Executive Officer Doug McMillon said in the statement.
The move comes three years after Wal-Mart last announced it was raising wages, spending $1 billion in 2015 to lift starting hourly pay to $9 and then to $10 for most workers the following year. The increase cut into profit and was criticized by some longer-tenured employees as unfair to them. Since then, many states have enacted minimum wage laws, meaning that a "sizable group" of its 4,700 U.S. stores already pay $11 an hour, according to spokesman Kory Lundberg.
Walmart is expanding a "Scan & Go" program from 50 to 150 stores. "Scan & Go" would allow customers to use a smartphone app to scan items and then walk out of the store with them. Kroger is experimenting with a similar "Scan, Bag, Go" program. These are seen as a response to Amazon, which has been trialing delivery of fresh foods and same-day deliveries. Amazon revealed an "Amazon Go" concept brick-and-mortar store in 2016, with no cashiers in sight.
Maybe Walmart's big plan is to give better pay to a dwindling amount of employees.