Days after billionaire Warren Buffett announced his company, Berkshire Hathaway, sold nearly all its Walmart stock, the world’s largest retailer revealed it’s taking some big steps into the future. And these changes could leave its competitors shaking in their boots.
On the heels of launching Walmart Pay, an in-app payment system, Walmart began working on improvements to its money transfer services. The chain hopes to eliminate physical paper in the transfer process, cutting down drastically on the 11 minutes on average a customer spends in the money services line.
“We’re leaning into a behavior and habit that began with Walmart Pay, and it was all centered around how to improve the overall experience at checkout,” Daniel Eckert, senior vice president of Walmart services, said Monday, according to CNBC. “This is just going to add on to that overall experience.”
Walmart is also experimenting with allowing customers to refill and manage their prescriptions from their mobile phones. This will help the chain improve its in-store pharmacies, an area where Target has struggled.
Part of the reason why Buffett no longer chooses to invest in traditional retailers is their inability to keep up with the online shopping giants, namely Amazon. But Walmart is doing its best to compete. It acquired Amazon competitor Jet.com last year and recently rolled out a membership program similar to Amazon Prime, but with no annual fee. It also offers grocery delivery and curbside pickup in certain cities.
The new pharmacy and money transfer services will reportedly launch at Walmarts across the country by fall.
CNBC reports that Walmart also plans to test a convenience store, which would greatly reduce the amount of time customers spend standing in checkout lines.