American multinational retail corporation Walmart was recently granted a patent that will track when customer’s products are getting low at home and then automatically reorder those products for customers. The technology would also be able to track how frequently products are used.
The abstract of the patent reads as follows:
“A system and method for item replenishment comprising a subscription device that associates tags with items, a tag tracking device for collecting data on the tags associated with the items, and a management system that monitors changes in use of the items, including analyzing use patterns to determine when the items should be replenished, replaced or upgraded.”
The frequency tracking offered by this patent could tell Walmart how often someone wears a pair of shoes, thereby allowing Walmart to calculate how quickly the shoes wear out and make suggestions to customers about what pair they might consider ordering next through personalised promotions.
This type of technology is not completely new, for example Amazon has dash buttons and a dash replenishment service which allow customers to reorder items when they are low at the touch of a button in their home. What is unique about Walmart’s patented solution however is that it requires less work than similar solutions offered by competitor firms. With Walmart’s technology customers would not need to do anything to prompt the reordering of a product.