Walmart has begun Supercenter upgrades designed to create a more digitally enabled shopping experience, with plans to update 200 locations in fiscal 2021 and almost 1,000 stores by fiscal 2022.
Janey Whiteside, executive vice president and chief customer experience officer at Walmart U.S., announced the effort in a blog post on Wednesday. The new look and feel includes updated exterior and interior signage to reflect the Walmart mobile app icon. Also, as customers enter the store, they will see colorful iconography and a store directory that encourages them to download and use the app while they shop.
The refresh, too, makes it easier for shoppers to navigate the aisles and find the products they want, according to Whiteside. Capitalized, dimensional typeface atop store departments — such as “SEAFOOD,” “BEEF” and “DAIRY” — helps sections stand out as customers walk the floor, and aisles sport letter and number combinations to “guide customers from phone to product,” she said.
“By creating a system that acknowledges our app navigation from beginning to end, we create an optimized omni-experience for both customers and associates,” Whiteside noted.
With the new design, Walmart also optimized product layout to spotlight key items throughout the store, including dedicated sections for electronics, toys, baby products and other offerings.
“We were inspired by airport wayfinding systems as best-in-class examples of how to navigate large groups of people,” said Whiteside. “We developed simple yet thoughtful designs to replicate these navigation efficiencies, which will help us move customers through the store more quickly.”
Expediting checkout and payment is a linchpin of the latest design as well, according to Whiteside. Self-checkout stations and contactless payment solutions, such as Walmart Pay, will help limit contact between shoppers and store associates, and some stores also will offer Scan & Go mobile pay functionality to enable customers to directly manage their checkout.
“We’ve tested the new concept in select stores and are excited by the initial feedback from customers and associates,” Whiteside said of the store refresh program. “We’ll be rolling it out to more stores this fall and will continue to get customer and associate feedback and evolve the design accordingly. By the end of this fiscal year, the experience will be in nearly 200 Supercenters as well as in select Health Centers and Neighborhood Markets, reaching close to 1,000 stores by next fiscal year.”
Besides providing a sleeker look, she added, Walmart employed a “customer-centric lens” in developing the new design to enable customers to more easily toggle between in-store and digital shopping channels, or use them together.
“Today is a pivotal moment for us as we roll out our new store look and feel and embrace a truly digitally enabled omni shopping experience,” Alvis Washington, vice president of marketing for store design, innovation and experience at Walmart, said in a statement. “We set out to create a more engaging experience that would allow both our associates and customers to better navigate their shopping needs in a highly customized and convenient way. I’m incredibly proud of the team for always keeping an ear to the ground on what our customers want.”
Overall, as of July 31, Walmart operated 5,353 U.S. stores, including 3,569 Supercenters, 376 Walmart discount stores, 686 Walmart Neighborhood Markets, eight convenience outlets and 1185 small-format stores, as well as 599 Sam’s Club locations.