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Walmart unveils digital-led shopping experience

Walmart is debuting a completely new way to shop its store. In a blog post on the retailer's website Wednesday, Walmart executive vice president and chief customer officer Janey Whiteside shared the retailer’s digitally enabled shopping experience with the Walmart mobile app as a centerpiece of the shopping journey. 

In-store signage has been updated to reflect the icons within the Walmart app, meant to create an omnichannel experience instantly, with the in-store images and store directory encouraging shoppers to download the app and use it as they shop.

 Resources within the app include store navigation — with aisles now marked with letter and number combinations to help guide customers to the right product — as well as a price-check tool and integration with Walmart Pay to enable contactless payment at checkout or self-checkout. Shoppers also can use the app to scan and in-store item to see more varieties or options online in the app. Certain locations also will feature Scan & Go to allow shoppers to directly manage their checkout experience. 

Walmart’s new layout comes as it steps up its efforts to compete with Amazon — including the launch of Walmart+, an Amazon Prime analog that offers perks to members — as the e-tailer grows its brick-and-mortar footprint, notably opening its first store under the Amazon Fresh banner in Woodland Hills, Calif., with two more to follow in Los Angeles and Chicago. Like its Amazon Go stores, the Amazon Fresh banner integrates Amazon’s tech-based offerings to make shopping easier, including a smart cart that can allow for a cashier-free experience. 

Amazon aside, Whiteside said the new layout ultimately is aimed at improving the shopping experience and making it easier to use all of Walmart’s online and physical resources. 

“We’re always listening to our customers and innovating our in-store, online and mobile experiences to meet and exceed their expectations,” Whiteside said. “We want their time with us to be enjoyable, and we’re working hard to create ways for them easily toggle between shopping channels — or use them together.”

In addition to digital tools and guidance, Whiteside noted that the new layout was inspired by airport wayfinding systems and how their design enables navigation efficiencies. The layout also features more visibility on electronics, toys, baby products and more, with dedicated in-store sections for them. 

 Whiteside said the new concept was tested in select stores and will be expanding this fall, with the retailer collecting customer and employee feedback to adapt the design accordingly. The company plans to roll out the new layout to almost 200 Supercenters, as well as select Health Centers and Neighborhood Market formats, with plans to be in nearly 1,000 stores by the next fiscal year. 

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