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Walmart turns four stores into e-commerce labs

Walmart store tests new technology

Source: Walmart

Walmart is turning four of its stores into labs testing ways to turn the retailer’s large physical footprint into a more powerful e-commerce edge.

The big-box giant said Thursday it is designating two stores near its headquarters in Bentonville, Arkansas, and two others that will be announced later. It said the stores and their employees will try methods that better blend brick and mortar and digital aspects of the business and enhance the customer experience.

Walmart, like other retailers, has seen more of its sales shift online during the coronavirus pandemic. Walmart̵

7;s sales of e-commerce nearly doubled in the second quarter, ending July 31st. Even before the global health crisis, the company focused on using its many stores as an advantage over Amazon and other competitors.

For this new effort, employees will use digital tools, store design features, and various strategies that can accelerate shelf refilling and online order fulfillment. They will test an app that uses artificial intelligence to scan multiple boxes in the back room instead of one at a time as they move them to the store floor. They use new store signage and handheld devices to reduce the time it takes to select an online order. And product and technology teams will be based in stores to accelerate the pace of prototyping.

Walmart store tests new technology

Source: Walmart

Walmart will also try to synchronize its clothing range better in the test stores. Some clothing is not currently listed online. If the store and the website have the same shirts or sweaters, customers have several ways to get these items – e.g. To pick them up when picking up at the curbside or have them sent to your home.

The company said it will also tinker with the checkout area and test designs, hardware and software that make customers’ purchases faster, easier and more contact-free.

John Crecelius, Walmart’s senior vice president of associate products and next-generation stores in the United States, said in a post on the company’s website that simple changes can pay off. For example, he said that the percentage of times that employees who choose an online order find the item on their first try has increased by 20% in some of its difficult item categories when added to signage and handheld devices. The signage was inspired by airport terminals with a letter and a number.

He said Walmart will announce more ways they will use its stores to drive growth online.

Walmart augmented reality app tests new technology

Source: Walmart

Walmart has more than 4,700 stores in the United States. More than 90% of Americans live within 10 miles of one of its stores. It can make them convenient hubs for fulfilling online orders for pickup or delivery on the street.

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