Walmart announced March 27 that it's offering customers no contact services for payment, pickup and delivery options in an attempt to protect customers and store staffers.
By scanning a QR code that is synced with the Walmart Pay app, in-store shoppers can make contactless purchases, according to the company's announcement. Previously shoppers had to select a payment method by touching a screen at self-checkout.
Walmart pickup customers can open their car trunk and an employee will load in their groceries without the need for a signature. Similarly, delivery drivers will leave an order on a customer's doorstep, bypassing a signature requirement.
Before the COVID-19 outbreak began, millennial and Gen Z consumers were driving the adoption of contactless payments, according to a recent report from Ingenico Group and FreedomPay. Retailers like Costco and Target have adopted contactless payments over the past few years.
Now, the COVID-19 pandemic has underlined a possible benefit of contactless payments and cashierless technology. Companies like 7-Eleven, Amazon, FutureProof and Postmates have introduced contactless, cashierless and mobile checkout options, which may become increasingly important as the novel coronavirus upends the way people shop.
"We're in unprecedented times. The way we're all living and shopping is changing," Janey Whiteside, executive vice president and Walmart chief customer officer, wrote in a company statement. "We're moving quickly to adapt to those changing needs."
But as retailers face cash flow woes and temporarily close store locations, those essential retailers still standing have to contend with high demand. Walmart has tried to address consumers' sanitation concerns and is looking to hire 150,000 hourly workers. On the e-commerce front, grocery apps saw a surge in downloads as takeout delivery apps have declined.