A system patented by Walmart aims to address one of the top drawbacks for would-be online shoppers: the desire to pick their own produce.
The “Fresh Online Experience,” a process Walmart outlined in a patent published Dec. 28, would allow consumers to remotely approve or reject specific produce items prepared for online orders. The service could be used for other fresh items as well.
When placing an order, consumers could select which items to confirm. Once two-dimensional or three-dimensional photos of the produce have been sent, the consumer has a set amount of time to approve or reject the items.
Walmart explained its rationale for the system — for which fulfillment could be manual or automated — in the background section of patent.
“A customer when visiting a retail store can inspect and choose produce that seems to look like the highest quality,” the company stated in the document. “However, a customer who orders the same item from a retail store website for grocery pickup and/or delivery has to rely on the store associate to choose the actual item to be delivered. They may be dissatisfied with the result.
“It is desirable for the customer to be able to request images of the item in the retail store, so that the customer can be satisfied with their online purchase,” Walmart stated.
The company has patented numerous other ideas over the years that have not been deployed. E-commerce, however, has been a major area of growth for Walmart, and inability to inspect produce and other fresh item is one of the most cited reasons people give for not grocery shopping online.
Story by Ashley Nickle at Thepacker.com