As brick-and-mortar retail continues to see threats from online shopping, retail giant Walmart has introduced several measures in stores to improve customer and employee experiences.
In Florida, the retailer has introduced and expanded what it refers to as “retail innovations.” The innovations include grocery pickup, a program called Check Out With Me and pickup towers that fulfill customers’ online orders. The company says the innovations will expand further throughout the Sunshine State in 2019.
Walmart Market Manager Ray Korsch handles operations for about 11 stores throughout Polk County and into Sebring. Korsch tells Coffee Talk almost all of the company’s innovations have reached his stores. “We’re fairly rural — for us to get some of this new technology and innovation is really, really exciting,” he says.
Walmart is known for low prices, he says, but in addition to saving money, customers want to save time, too. “Walmart’s really put a lot of time and effort into not just the customer side and making it faster and easier for the customers but also for the associates as well,” he says.
On the customer side, grocery pickup has been popular. “It’s all about that convenience,” Korsch says.
Check Out With Me is also a favorite, according to Korsch. The program involves employees carrying cellular devices and Bluetooth printers that allow them to check out customers and provide them with a receipt throughout the store.
A new Dotcom Store App allows employees to search for items customers are looking for and order them if they’re not available in stores. Korsch says it’s helping stores close the gap where they falter on stock by sourcing inventory available elsewhere in the Walmart network.
Employees, he says, appreciate the innovations, too. “They have tools to help them do their job quickly or more efficiently.” One innovation for associates is virtual reality training. Walmart plans to introduce the training for all employees in Florida.
Korsch says there are more innovations coming down the pike in 2019. He says, “Simple, repeatable and sustainable — these new innovations are really centered around that model to make sure it’s something we can execute really well and sustain at the same time.”