In seven states, you can shop at Walmart even if you leave your wallet at home.
The huge retailer announced Thursday that it has expanded its Walmart Pay option -- by which users can upload their payment information once onto the company's app and then pay digitally when checking out -- to Mississippi, Louisiana, Alabama and Georgia.
Customers have been able to use the app to check out in Texas, Oklahoma and Arkansas since May.
App-based payment is becoming increasingly common. The trend started with Apple Pay, which is available on newer iPhones and can be used at any of Apple's many retail partners. Individual retail chains are now adding payment functions to their own apps: Dunkin' Donuts has one, as does Starbucks. (Between its payment app and its gift cards, the coffee giant holds $1.2 billion in deposits from customers, according to the The Wall Street Journal.)
This is the frontier, where paying meets marketing. When the Walmart app makes shopping easier, that keeps people coming back to the stores, not to mention opening the app. Elsewhere, credit cards with computer chips are forcing people to wait — gasp — another few seconds before their payments are approved. Faster app-based payment can create customer loyalty.
Walmart is counting on that. In the states where Walmart Pay has already been available for a few weeks, 80 percent of people using it have been repeat customers, according to company spokesperson Molly Blakeman.
The goal is that, ultimately, people will buy everything at Walmart because it's just too easy. Technology can help make that dream come true.
"One day we hope that people don’t remember if they purchased something online or in a Walmart store because it’s so seamless," said Blakeman, noting that even now it's possible to order something online, pick it up in a store and pay using the app.
Mindless consumerism is so hot.