Will Walmart’s next-gen store fly with shoppers?
Walmart seems to be trying to shed its old-fashioned, spartan image while still maintaining a low-price appeal. The latest example of this can be found in the next-gen store layout the company is piloting.
The new store layout is being piloted in two supercenters, one in Texas and another in Florida, according to Walmart’s blog. The stores feature such technological enhancements as:
- Interactive technology that projects images onto tables and walls, allowing customers to get product information;
- In-store touchscreens that allow shoppers to buy online-only items, pay for them along with the rest of their order and then pick up the online-ordered items two days later;
- Touchscreens at the deli that allow for scheduling of orders so that customers can shop and return when their food is ready;
- Wi-Fi connected call buttons to page store associates.
The layout also includes previously-piloted features — Scan & Go and drive-thru pickup.
The pilot format is one of a number of steps Walmart has taken to better address its customers — and its competition —in today’s retail environment.
In 2016, the company acquired Jet.com to expand its e-commerce presence, presumably to compete with e-tail juggernaut Amazon. Earlier this year Walmart acquired online shoe retailer ShoeBuy as well as indie apparel brand ModCloth. The ModCloth deal proved controversial with many of the brand’s fans expressing online outrage at the corporate takeover of a mom-and-pop brand.
Walmart has also launched a tech incubator called Store No. 8 meant to help build retail tech startups. This had led some to suggest that the company risks alienating its core shoppers with too much technology.
Walmart is one of a number of discount-oriented chains trying to enhance their appeal with new store layouts. Aldi began rolling out a new store design meant to resemble more upscale organic grocers like Whole Foods.
Target is also looking at new store designs to spark its business. The retailer began rolling out small “flexible” concepts to better fit the local needs of urban shoppers near university campuses and other prime locations. It has also opened a drastically redesigned prototype store with two entrances — one leading to a department store-like side and the other to a section of the store with grocery grab-and-go options.
- A Look Inside Walmart’s Next-Gen Test Stores – Walmart
- Will Walmart’s Scan & Go catch on this time around? – RetailWire
- Will its acquisition of ShoeBuy.com boost Walmart’s online performance? – RetailWire
- Is Walmart’s Store No. 8 breaking boundaries or bonds with its core customers? – RetailWire
- Aldi is fixing a major weakness and coming straight for Whole Foods – Business Insider
- Will ambitious store redesign lift Target to new heights? – RetailWire
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: Will Walmart’s new next-gen store layout both connect with its core customers while attracting new ones? Do you think Walmart will engage in a broad rollout of this concept or limit it to specific markets?