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Walmart Reimagines the Store Experience


Walmart is testing enhanced features and technologies designed to appeal to today’s digitally driven lifestyles in two new supercenters — one in Tomball, Texas, and one in Lake Nona, Fla.

Described as “next-gen test stores,” the spaces were fully reimagined — from layout to building and environmental enhancements to added technology — with a goal of improving the shopping experience and making it easier for customers to get what they need as quickly as possible. The spaces also boast a more contemporary look and feel. Here’s a look at the stores’ main features:

New layout. Customer shopping behavior was used to reimagine the layout. For example, services like the beauty salon and tech repair are adjacent to relevant merchandise. Health and wellness departments are consolidated to create a single destination. Baby, toys and children’s apparel and shoes form a single destination to ease the shopping journey.

Scan & Go. Technology that works both on personal smartphones and Walmart-provided handheld devices is being tested in both locations. Customers are greeted on their way into the store by a large bank of Scan & Go wands. Digital produce scales make scanning weighable items easy. Scan & Go fast-pass checkout lanes allow customers to bypass the traditional checkout process.

SmartLife. New interactive projection technology allows customers to learn about connected devices (such as Google Home, Apple TV, Nest, baby monitors and connected thermostats) and get answers to what is important to them. Because images are projected onto tables and walls, there’s no chance of accidentally damaging a product, and the product details can be updated more quickly through this new platform.

This technology is found in the entertainment section of the store, as well as in hardware, baby, and health and wellness for relevant department items.

Integrated pickup. Shoppers can use the outside drive-thru to pick up weekly groceries, prescriptions and orders.

Extended Aisles: The Tomball Supercenter includes interactive screens offering access to an extended curated selection of online-only items in almost 100 categories. Customers can order products, pay with the rest of their basket at checkout and pick up two days later.

Appointment setting and ordering technology. Both stores are testing a new appointment and ordering kiosk system in the deli area that allows shoppers to place their order, go shopping, then come back to quickly pick it up. If the deli test goes well, the feature could be expanded to pharmacy, auto care center, beauty salon or anywhere ordering and appointment-setting occurs.

Next-gen call buttons. Shoppers press a Wi-Fi-connected call button and wearable GPS-enabled devices alert associates that assistance is needed. Associates wearing these devices are trained in specific store areas and are on call to help in the furniture, paint, fabrics, sporting goods and bikes areas of the store.

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