The largest U.S. retailer launches test stores aimed at combining different trade formats.
As Walmart strives to develop its digital business, it builds on its main advantage over Amazon and other online players - its extensive base of large stores. It gives the company plenty of room for experimentation in combining online sales, where consumers then pick up the order on their own, with purchases in regular stores.
Special attention has focused on speeding up inventory movement from the storage room to the sales area and increasing the speed of finding goods ordered online. Experiments on order processing technology are also actively conducted.
Earlier this autumn, the retailer announced that he plans to upgrade about 1000 stores using the new format, which encourages customers to use the Walmart application when shopping and provides an opportunity for contactless payment. The goal is to find the ideal approach, which will allow the Walmart stores to work simultaneously, as in the usual mode of places for shopping, and as centers for online orders.
Externally, the new format outlets do not differ from the usual ones; the changes concern hikes to work and the latest technologies' active use. Some of these innovations will be visible to visitors, while others will remain hidden. In any case, consumers will benefit from their implementation.
The availability of goods available in the store for online customers is one more important thing. It is essential because what is on sale offline can not always be found on the Internet. It applies to such a category as clothing, which is quite difficult to display on the catalog site fully. In new stores, customers will have a truly omnichannel experience of shopping.
A particular application will make it easier for workers to find goods that need relocation to the sales area. Instead of scanning each box individually, the employee will hold the mobile device in front of him, and the application, which uses augmented reality, will highlight the necessary goods.
It is also much easier to search for goods ordered online, for which a combination of remarkable pointers and a mobile application is used. When an employee of the store could find goods at the first attempt, the number of cases increased by 20%.
The company plans to continue testing various combinations of hardware and software solutions to improve and even rethinking contactless ordering for customers. The interaction with the cashier and the checkout brought to a new level. Modern checkout spaces replaced the usual queues, conveyors, and cash registers where customers do not lose time and do not experience inconveniences.
According to John Kreselius, senior vice president of New Generation Walmart Associates and Stores in the U.S., the company already has two test stores running, and two more are preparing to open.