Because Amazon is shipping to customers from a vast network of warehouses around the country, shoppers are less likely to come across out-of-stock items. Walmart, conversely, is infamous for its empty shelves, but the retailer is testing a new program that would allow customers to immediately place an online order for an item that isn’t in stock.
The Street reports that several Walmart stores in Texas are testing the touchscreen monitors in the toy aisle, allowing shoppers to find what they’re looking for even when it’s not on the shelves.
Walmart CFO Brett Briggs unveiled the tests during an investor conference Wednesday, describing the system as an “endless aisle-type concept.”
“We’re testing how to interact with the customer differently, understanding better how they want to shop,” Briggs said.
In addition to simply ordering a product that isn’t available in stores, the touchscreens can also suggest items for shoppers.
For example, Briggs said that customers shopping for a gift can use the screen to input the details about the recipient and the system will provide a list of best-selling products and where they’re located in the store.
If the item isn’t available in the store, the customer will have the option to purchase it online.