Leading retail chains are gradually ceasing to be mere retail outlets and are becoming places to discover.
The retail giant Walmart has announced a prototype of an "interactive store," currently under test in Springdale, Arkansas.
As part of the "Having a Good Time" project, there will be improvements to lighting and retail space, as well as QR codes and digital screens for new research opportunities.
The company's press office explained that we are committed to making our customers feel excited and proud when they shop with us. Despite today's multichannel world, shoppers still want to experience touch, feel, and taste merchandise.
Walmart redesigned the point-of-sale system over the past few years, and the new test follows suit. New navigation systems have appeared in almost 1,000 Walmart stores following much positive feedback from customers and experts.
The organization of space in the new "Time Well Spent" concept is somewhat similar to the updated Target format launched five years ago, which Target has successfully adapted.
Among other things, a new Walmart in Springdale features visualization and product testing displays, branded in-store corners, fully digital storefronts, and a code system that provides information about additional products and services.
Walmart posted a video of the store's corners featuring global brands such as Gap, Reebok, and Philips. According to the company, initial tests of the new format showed that customers were "delighted with the redesign."
As Walmart and Target introduce new formats, other retailers, which do not have the same level of merchandising, may be put at risk. Stores of leading retail chains are increasingly becoming "discovery spaces" rather than mere retail outlets.
As part of its efforts to enhance the shopping experience, Walmart has been experimenting with various concepts for its future stores, incorporating new technologies and innovations. Several features may be included in Walmart's stores in the future, including:
- With the use of data analytics and artificial intelligence, Walmart may be able to offer tailored recommendations, customized offers, and targeted promotions to individual customers.
- A new self-checkout system called "Scan & Go" is being tested by Walmart, allowing customers to scan and pay for items via their smartphones. This system may also have facial recognition technology to identify customers and simplify checkout.
- Walmart has been investing in robotics and automation to assist with order fulfillment, which may eventually result in fully automated warehouses and fulfillment centers.
- The company has been experimenting with augmented reality (AR) to enhance the in-store experience through interactive displays or AR-enabled shopping lists.
- Walmart has already opened in-store health clinics in some locations, and this concept may expand to other areas in the future, offering customers convenient access to medical care.
- The company has already introduced contactless payment options, such as Walmart Pay, and is exploring new payment technologies to enhance the checkout experience.