Executive Briefings

Experts Weigh In on Wal-Mart's Next-Gen Stores

Wal-Mart is testing six next-gen approaches in two recently opened supercenters in Tomball, TX, and Lake Nona, FL. These stores were fully reimagined from a new layout, to building and environmental enhancements, to added technology that all improve the shopping experience, according to a blog post written by Jeff Muench, senior director of business development.

"Wal-Mart has always been willing to pioneer in new technology to grow the company, and the focus on in-store technology is telling," says Stuart Aldrige, principal, Columbus Consulting International. "Amazon may have web hits and clicks, but Wal-Mart has breathtaking footfall numbers and with that they have an opportunity to create a whole new experience for the customer that will change their view on what shopping can be. They have also taken to heart the connection between online and in-store and are trying to blur the lines; largely because that's how the next generation wants to shop. These may only be a couple of prototype stores in a global portfolio of bricks and mortar, but it's as clear an insight as we are likely to see into how Wal-Mart believes it can fend off the online competition."

Both new stores feature a reimagined store 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, kids' apparel and kids' shoes form a single destination to "ease mom’s shopping journey."

Six Technological Advancements the Next-Gen Stores Offer:

Scan & Go

Scan & Go technology works both on personal smartphones and Wal-Mart-provided handheld devices. Customers are greeted on their way into the store by a large bank of these Scan & Go wands, and new digital produce scales have been added to make scanning weighable items much easier. Scan & Go fast pass checkout lanes allow customers to bypass the traditional checkout process.

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"Wal-Mart has always been willing to pioneer in new technology to grow the company, and the focus on in-store technology is telling," says Stuart Aldrige, principal, Columbus Consulting International. "Amazon may have web hits and clicks, but Wal-Mart has breathtaking footfall numbers and with that they have an opportunity to create a whole new experience for the customer that will change their view on what shopping can be. They have also taken to heart the connection between online and in-store and are trying to blur the lines; largely because that's how the next generation wants to shop. These may only be a couple of prototype stores in a global portfolio of bricks and mortar, but it's as clear an insight as we are likely to see into how Wal-Mart believes it can fend off the online competition."

Both new stores feature a reimagined store 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, kids' apparel and kids' shoes form a single destination to "ease mom’s shopping journey."

Six Technological Advancements the Next-Gen Stores Offer:

Scan & Go

Scan & Go technology works both on personal smartphones and Wal-Mart-provided handheld devices. Customers are greeted on their way into the store by a large bank of these Scan & Go wands, and new digital produce scales have been added to make scanning weighable items much easier. Scan & Go fast pass checkout lanes allow customers to bypass the traditional checkout process.

Read Full Article