3. Returns are number three.
Walmart is integrating shopper purchase data into the app, allowing customers to view things purchased both online and in stores. Customers can scan a paper ticket to use the feature for non-digital transactions. Customers will be able to start a return from within the app by selecting an item from their digital history and scanning a barcode with their mobile device. They can proceed to a designated area at the customer care counter, show the code to be scanned, and drop off the return. The consumer is then notified that the return has been received.
"We believe this is the type of omnichannel edge that will benefit our customers," Matthews explained. The returns process will go live in mid-June, and Matthews said the business is looking into integrating the feature into smart kitchen appliances and creating voice connectivity. "We're looking at natural speech as the future," he stated.
Restocking shelves, checking inventory levels, and discovering and returning misplaced items are among the most time-consuming duties in any retail store. Walmart now employs robots to help in the process.
A roaming robot from Bossa Nova Robotics walks about the store gathering data, checking price and shelf tags, identifying out of stock products, and keeping track of overstock items that are now maintained on the top shelf to reduce backroom trips for inventory replenishment.
Walmart is putting a lot of emphasis on improving associates' working conditions this year, and made a number of announcements to that end this week, including a new dress code and a college-funding scheme. New digital tools were also introduced by the retail behemoth to aid colleagues in the store.
The information from the Bossa Nova robot, which communicates a to-do list to staff based on its findings, is connected with new mobile devices. The robot takes pictures, points out problems, and pinpoints the exact position and item that has to be moved or restocked.
6. Automated systems
Walmart has automated the process of unloading trucks and organizing products in the back room, a job that workers despise so much that the corporation couldn't keep them. The "Fast Unloader" can carry a complete trailer of merchandise along a conveyor belt, sort the items, and load them into carts for shelf replenishment in a fraction of the time it would take if done by hand.
According to Crecelius, the system is now in 30 locations, with Walmart "adding 10 a week." "We're putting them in as quickly as possible." Walmart executives insisted that automation has not replaced workers, but rather that associates in those occupations have been reassigned to other areas, most notably the store floor, where they interact with consumers.
7. On the internet
Jetblack, Walmart's new concierge shopping service and the first company to emerge from its Store No.8 incubator, is another example. The initiative uses artificial intelligence (AI) powered by humans to provide members with a curated selection of product recommendations from Walmart, Jet, and a number of other retail partners, including Pottery Barn and the Gap.
Jetblack is targeting high-end customers in New York City, with a concentration on individuals who reside in doorman buildings for the time being. While it's a far cry from the usual Walmart supercenter, which now features roving robots and automated unloaders, the underlying unifier is the company's use of proprietary technology to set it apart and keep it a step or two ahead of — or at the very least on par with — its greatest competition.
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Since the acquisition of Jet.com and the inclusion of its creator Marc Lore to Walmart's leadership team two years ago, the company has stepped up its innovation game. The company quickly acquired a number of e-commerce acquisitions and has been developing new technology to assist fuel expansion.
Some of the new technology was on exhibit during the company's annual shareholder meeting in Arkansas last week, part of a series of events geared to reward and invigorate associates that included two days of business segment updates and store tours for the media. There was also a rare behind-the-scenes look at how walmartone.com is employing technology to enhance employee conditions and promote efficiency, lowering turnover and operational expenses.
1. Upgrades to mobile devices
When Walmart debuted and then soon abandoned a mobile order and pay project called Scan & Go, it made waves – and not in a good way. Customers found the program to be less than useful and obtrusive, but the company has already iterated a new version that will be available in shops soon.
According to Mark Matthews, vice president of digital acceleration, new capabilities include integrated store maps, which are presently available in 165 locations and will be expanded soon. While many Walmart stores, particularly supercenters, appear to be identical, many are distinct in terms of structure and services offered. Shoppers will now be able to get these facts via mobile updates, which will also allow them to arrange appointments, check if a movie is available at their local Red Box, and rent a carpet cleaner for pickup.
The new store map feature debuted discreetly earlier this year, and according to Matthews, nearly half of all mobile page views initiated by shoppers in stores where it's active are directed to the maps feature.
According to Matthews, over 80% of customers prepare paper lists before going to the store, and attempts to adapt this to digital tools haven't been well received. Users can now enter things in natural language on Walmart's app, such as "popcorn" or "coffee maker." The software displays a restricted amount of brands or item options before allowing the user to select a specific item. Because the lists are linked to updated store maps, each item can be pinpointed on the shelf down to a four-foot broad portion.