Jan 28, 2022
Walmart wants to keep its customers a bit longer.
The retailer announced updates to its incubator store in Springdale, AR, that are focused on engaging customers throughout the shopping journey. The innovations may not make for faster shopping trips, as was once the objective, but could lead to better overall experiences and larger average purchases in the process.
Alvis Washington, vice president, marketing – store design, innovation and experience at Walmart U.S., said the store has evolved from its update last year that was focused on helping customers navigate more quickly throughout the shopping trip. The learnings from that test have been rolled out to around 1,000 of the chain’s stores as a result.
The Springdale location has been updated with a focus on customer interactions and leaving customers with the feeling that their trips to Walmart were “time well spent.”
The store makes use of big displays, à la Target, that lead shoppers into categories and feature the retailer’s exclusive partnerships such as GapHome. The retailer is also looking to add more space within its key merchandise areas to make shoppers feel more relaxed while in the store.
“Walmart is a grocery store that sells apparel along with other things, but that doesn’t mean we have to sell apparel the same ways we sell groceries,” Mr. Washington told Fast Company. “Customers want to be inspired … in new furniture, makeup and trends. We want to disrupt their expectations.”
Walmart is also looking to stimulate interactions with shoppers using QR codes throughout the store and passive smart screens.
The QR codes are intended to help pull together the digital and physical shopping experience. In one instance, a code might alert customers to special deals on products of interest. Codes could also be used to educate customers on all that Walmart has to offer. Mr. Washington wrote on the company blog that shoppers in the store’s pet department could scan a code “to find additional dog bed options, learn about Walmart’s pet insurance service options or have a 20-pound bag of kibble delivered to their door.”
Smart screens are used for a variety of purposes. For example, a passively interactive widescreen above a new men’s grooming section will automatically display reviews of a product when a shopper takes it off the shelf.
- Designing Interactive Stores that ‘Wow’ – Walmart
- Walmart’s new redesign looks a lot like Target – with one major difference – Fast Company
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: Which element(s) of Walmart’s redesigned incubator store will have the biggest effect on the customer experience and rings at the register? Do you see other design opportunities that Walmart could use to differentiate its shopping experience from Target and other rivals?
“I encourage anyone who can make it there to check out this store. It is teeming with new merchandising, digital, and navigational concepts.”
“If there is one retailer that can benefit from an elevated experience, it’s Walmart.”
“Seems like forever I’ve been critical of retail’s goal of getting the customer out of the store as fast as possible. Walmart must read RW!”