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Walmart is developing personal shopping services and cashier-free stores

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Image Credits: Joe Raedle

Walmart’s Code Eight, led by Rent the Runway co-founder Jennifer Fleiss, has started testing personal shopping services for moms in New York City, Recode reports. Code Eight is part of Walmart’s startup incubator Store No. 8. The idea with Code Eight’s service, according to Recode, is for “busy NYC moms” to get product recommendations and buy them via text message. The shopping service is currently focused on health, beauty, household essentials and apparel/accessories, Recode reports.

In a since-edited job listing, Code Eight says it’s looking to be “a trusted personal shopping companion that surprises and delights the high net worth urban consumer.”

The “secret sauce,” as described in another since-edited job listing, is in “identifying not only what the best products are but also why they are the best. To gain our customers’ trust, we will ensure our recommendations are personalized based on style, price sensitivity, organic/natural preferences, and much more.”

In a current job listing, Code Eight says its goal is to “push the boundaries as we set our sights on taking the lead in conversational commerce by leveraging machine learning, NLP, and personalization algorithms.”

Another project the tech incubator is working on is called Project Kepler, Recode first reported. In a job listing for a computer vision engineer in Jet’s office in Dublin, Ireland, Walmart explains Project Kepler’s mission is “to create step change in-store experiences, leveraging emerging technology to help define and deliver on evolving customer expectations. Its success requires a cross-functional, mission-based team that is highly entrepreneurial, collaborative and passionate about solving the unsolved problems.”

The goal is to reportedly create physical stores that don’t need checkout lines or cashiers in order to operate. Last year, Amazon launched a beta of Go, its cashier-free, app-based food shopping experience.

All of this comes after Walmart’s $3 billion acquisition of Jet.com and Marc Lore, the company’s founder. When Walmart snatched up Jet.com last year, Walmart said the plan was to expand its consumer base and offer a simple, easy shopping experience. That’s exactly what Walmart seems to be doing by targeting “high net worth” people with personal shopping experiences.

I’ve reached out to Walmart and will update this story if I hear back.

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