"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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