FUTURISTIC RETAIL: Walmart testing ‘next-generation’ store concepts

Walmart is testing new approaches in two recently opened Walmart supercenters, part of a push to keep up with consumer “digitally-driven lifestyles.”

The retail giant is testing new approaches in stores in Texas and Florida. The locations were fully designed with new layouts, built with environmental enhancements to add technology to the shopping experience. The major changes include:

• SCAN & GO — Walmart is testing Scan & Go technology, which works on personal smartphones and Walmart-provided handheld devices. The Scan & Go fast pass checkout lanes allow customers to bypass the traditional checkout process, making their shopping trip quicker.

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• TECH SAVVY — The stores are equipped with interactive projection technology that allows customers to learn about devices like Google Home, Apple TV, baby monitors and connected thermostats. The technology is found in the entertainment section of the stores and other departments.

• INTERACTIVE SCREENS — Shoppers will find interactive screens offering access to online-only items in almost 100 categories. The customers can order products and pay with the rest of their basket at the checkout and pick up the online order two days later.

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• EASY ORDERING — These stores are testing new ordering kiosk systems, where shoppers order what they want, go shopping and then come back and pick up their meat when they're finished. The systems could be expanded to cover the auto care center, beauty salon or anywhere ordering and appointment setting happens in the store.

• TRACK DOWN AN EMPLOYEE — Employees can press a wi-fi connected call button that alerts associates that assistance is needed. Employees wearing these devices are trained in specific store areas and are on call to help in the furniture, paint, fabrics, sporting goods and bikes areas.

“So what’s the bottom line? By rethinking stores and testing new ideas with customers in real-life stores, we are improving customers’ experiences and making it easier than ever for them to get what they need as quickly and easily as possible,” the company said.

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