A discount giant has taken a cloud-based self-checkout system from its U.S. garden centers to all over the store and the world.
In spring 2018, Walmart began piloting mobile technology in its Lawn & Garden Centers across more than 350 U.S. stores. Called Check Out With Me, the program outfits associates with mobile devices and Bluetooth printers that enable them to check out customers, and provide them with a receipt on the spot.
To support Check Out With Me, Walmart implemented a system it had been prototyping called Cloud Powered Checkout (CPC). Since then, the CPC system has enabled Walmart to accelerate new innovations and customer experiences.
CPC, a highly scalable, proprietary technology system built by Walmart Global Tech, manages and processes billions of transactions globally. As Walmart’s technology needs expanded across multiple brands and international markets, the company needed a more flexible POS system.
Walmart’s previous POS solution utilized primarily stationary terminals and was written in a coding language that isn’t broadly taught or used, so Walmart developers found it a hindrance. It was also tightly coupled to a proprietary operating system and limited Walmart’s options for different experiences such as mobile.
The approach Walmart used when creating CPC was to think of it as an e-commerce system first and leverage common microservices architecture. CPC was built to be multi-cloud native and leverage containers, which provides flexibility for where Walmart operate and aids with resiliency. The web and native front end support any hardware and easily integrates with any business services using standard API patterns.
This makes it easier for the company’s tech teams to deploy additional features for new customer experiences. Implementing CPC has allowed Walmart to better connect online and store customer journeys, and customize the checkout process for each market’s customer base.
Examples of Walmart implementing CPC-based checkout experiences in the past year include providing mobile “scan & go” shopping to members of the Walmart+ loyalty program and revamping self-checkout in the Seiyu Japanese grocery chain, which the company retains a minority interest in.
Walmart currently leverages CPC in all U.S. stores and Sam’s Club locations, and in most of its global markets. The company has onboarded and customized over 30 applications across five countries. For example, Walmart stores in Canada are using CPC to create a new self-service checkout experience with a different layout and hardware supplier than its other markets.
“As we look to the future of retail, it’s exciting to see how our cloud-powered checkout system can enable us to simplify, stay nimble and deliver a positive customer experience,” said Wes Sweet, VP, Walmart global tech, in a corporate blog post.