A patent application for a technology that is similar to Amazon Dash’s has been made by Walmart. According to CB Insights, filing of the patent took place in October last year. Walmart’s technology will, however, be different from that of Amazon because it will need less effort.
“While Dash buttons still require users to press a physical button separate from the product, Wal-Mart aims to integrate IoT into the products themselves for automatic re-ordering with no user input at all,” a blog post by CB Insights read.
Amazon Dash was initially unveiled two years ago and it is now estimated to be responsible for approximately 5760 orders every day with the product range having grown to cover more than 300 items. The device, which is connected over Wi-Fi, automatically reorders a product when such a product runs out or a replacement for the product is required.
The patent application that has been made by Walmart mentions that IoT tags will be added to items using technologies such as Near Field Communication, infrared, radio frequency and Bluetooth. Product usage would be monitored by the device developed from the technology described in the patent application. When needed an automatic order would be placed for a refill or a replacement. It will also be possible to track product recalls or expiration dates using the tags.
Besides encouraging purchases from Walmart, the technology would also serve to collect valuable data pertaining to consumers for the retail giant. This includes the frequency of use for a certain product, when such a product is most likely to be used and in which part of the house the product is likely to be kept.
Such data would assist in helping Walmart serve highly targeted ads and also enable the retail giant to predict demand. Additionally, the technology would assist Walmart in developing customer profiles that are more detailed for better market segmentation. The data Walmart could collect from customers would also assist the giant retailer in its efforts at cross-selling.
This is not the first patent that Walmart is filing with regards to expanding its online shopping footprint as foot traffic to physical stores slows and consumers increasingly turn to ecommerce. Among its portfolio of online shopping patents includes one dedicated to the grocery business that connects kitchens belonging to shoppers with Amazon. There is also another patent that describes technology for drone delivery as well as well as monitoring of fresh produce using the aerial vehicles.