The world’s largest retailer Wal Walmart (WMT) goes head to head with its biggest competitive advantage – its stores – as well as the e-commerce giant Amazon in the retail “next age”.
Walmart is converting all of its brick and mortar locations into test stores to explore ways to help all of its stores “operate as both physical shopping locations.” And fulfill online fulfillment centers in a way that has not yet been seen in the retail industry, “John Crassilius, SVP of Associate Products for Associate Lamert US and Next Pay Store stores, wrote in a blog post.
“We have a wonderful set of assets that have prepared us well for this coming era, but we can’t stay there. We are using our physical retail stores not only to meet the needs of in-store shoppers, but also to quickly meet the needs of online shoppers, that way, only Vmart Lamart can do, ”added Crisellius.
Walmart U.S. In the US, a fleet of more than 700 stores operates. About 0% of the population lives within 10 miles of Walmart.
Walmart’s test stores will become a “rapid prototype environment”, with production and technical teams on a permanently embedded site, the first for the company. These collaborators will prototype, test and replicate physical growth in new technologies, digital tools and stores, “scaling what works and scaling what doesn’t.”
Two stores are in Northwest Arkansas – store # 2686 in Bentonville and store # 4108 in Springdale – while the other two locations will be announced later.
Challenges One of the first challenges to deal with is the “omni-rice.” “The main objective was to put store rice in place online, making the whole store shopable for both store and customers online,” noted Crassilius.
It is also important to make it easy for store affiliates to select those orders online to create a store-worthy online. One small change that already “brings big results” is the combination of in-store signage and handheld devices, making it easier for peers to find and select a merchant, such as Apparel, which was not previously available for online shopping. According to Crassilius, the lifting time for associates to find an item on the first try has increased by 20% in certain categories, resulting in faster order filling time.
At the back of the store, manually scanning barcodes on the exterior of the mart mart is accelerating the usual labor-intensive inventory management process to see which product is ready to hit the sales pitch. At the testing center, Walmart has tested a new app that allows associates to grab a handheld device that scans augmented reality bucks to reveal which sales are ready to go on the floor. The app will be rolled out to all stores early next year, according to Chrysalis.
Elsewhere, Walmart has already changed the checkout experience by removing the lane. The company is also testing contactless options in a Covid-19 world.
Julia La Roche is a correspondent for Yahoo Finance. Follow on Twitter.
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