Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Walmart as vending machine? It might happen.

Further to my ongoing ravings about minimum wage and how it is killing us, we have news. Walmart is doing an experiment.

Wal-Mart Stores Inc. is creating a technology-startup incubator in Silicon Valley to identify changes that will reshape the retail experience, including virtual reality, autonomous vehicle and drone delivery and personalized shopping.

The incubator will be called Store No. 8, a reference to a Wal-Mart location where the company experimented with new store layouts. Marc Lore, chief executive officer of Wal-Mart's e-commerce operations, announced the incubator Monday at the ShopTalk conference in Las Vegas.

Amazon is kicking their ass lately, is what this boils down to. The "virtual reality, autonomous vehicle and drone delivery" part is to reduce employee headcount in the store. "Personalized shopping" is code for data mining. They track your every move in the store, and on-line, then serve you advertisements based on your behavior.

Pretty much they want a situation where you drive up, the store automatically knows exactly what you want, and spits out a box. You load the box in your car and drive away happy, while they bill your bank account remotely. What they really, really want is for you to chose items on their web site, then robots deliver them to your house. Because that can be end-to-end machinery.

Pretty soon, the only retail jobs that will be available will be robot mechanic.

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