Executives of Wal-Mart Stores on Wednesday highlighted efforts to integrate virtual and physical shopping, ranging from store circulars to shelving to checkout lanes and delivery trucks reinvented behind new technical capabilities.
The presentations accompanied an announcement earlier in the day that the company’s proprietary Savings Catcher technology would be available nationwide later this summer. The tool, which compares prices of items purchased at Walmart stores with competitors’ advertised prices and refunds the difference to consumers, has been “the highest rated concept we’ve ever tested,” according to Cindy Davis, Walmart’s EVP of global insights and customer analytics.
Stephen Quinn, CMO of Walmart U.S., said results of tests in seven markets this spring is “going to shock people.”
The Savings Catcher is just one product built off an electronic receipt program Walmart began rolling out earlier this year, said Gibu Thomas, SVP of mobile and digital at Walmart. That product, which produces a dynamic replica of a paper receipt, will become a platform for a number of initiatives to further integrate digital influence on shopping, including a predictive shopping list and a budgeting tool, Thomas explained.
In another presentation, Cory Gundberg, VP of strategic planning of Walmart Technology, said the retailer has begun including digital watermarks in store circulars, allowing shoppers to use mobile devices to research items as they peruse ads. The company is also looking into using the technology on product packaging, he added.
Other innovations highlighted during the opening day of Walmart’s shareholders week media events in Rogers, Ark., included a checkout design at Sam’s Club stores that can be converted to attended or self-checkout as needed; and an energy-efficient concept delivery truck with an aerodynamic cab design, a carbon-fiber body, and energy efficient features like wheels that retract with lighter loads to cut down on drag and digital camera displays in place of heavier and less aerodynamic mirrors.
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