Top Ways Walmart is Changing How Florida Customers Shop
Retailer Launches Cutting Edge Innovations throughout Florida Stores in 2018-2019
ORLANDO, Fla., January 22, 2019 — 2018 was an important year of innovation in Florida Walmart stores, as the company made good on its promise to make shopping easier for Florida customers, saving them time and money through the rollout and expansion of several in-store innovations. The company also supported its more than 107,000 Florida associates through increased training, new handheld apps, robotics and other technology designed to make their daily tasks easier. Walmart will continue to lead retail innovation in 2019.
“Our unique positioning allows us to leverage both our physical and digital assets to better serve customers in a way no other can,” said Elise Vasquez-Warner, vice president and regional general manager for Walmart in Central Florida. “We’re serving customers in new and different ways, transforming our stores and empowering our associates with the tools they need to do what we do best. As we look ahead over the next 12 months, we’ll continue this momentum and remain laser-focused on innovating the shopping experience to make every day easier for busy families.”
The following are examples of the customer-focused innovations launched or expanded in Florida stores.
(1) Grocery Pickup and Grocery Delivery
- Our customers love our online grocery pickup option. It gives them the convenience of shopping online and the ease of quickly picking up groceries without having to leave their cars. The best part: It’s all at no additional cost. Grocery Delivery is also proving to be a hit with our customers. To use either service, customers shop online or through a mobile browser at Walmart.com/grocery.
(2) Walmart Pickup Towers
- Currently more than 170 Florida stores offer grocery pickup, with additional expansion planned for 2019. Our stores in the cities of Bradenton, Jacksonville, Fort Lauderdale, Fort Myers, Miami, Orlando, Pensacola and Tampa currently offer grocery delivery to metro-area customers.
- Walmart Pickup Towers are 16 feet tall and function like high-tech vending machines, capable of fulfilling a customer’s online order in less than a minute. Simply choose from millions of items available on Walmart.com and select the “Pickup” option at checkout. When the item arrives at your local store, an associate loads it into the Pickup Tower and you will receive notification. When you arrive at the store, step up to the Pickup Tower and scan the barcode sent to your smartphone.
(3) Check Out With Me
- Currently more than 35 stores across Florida are equipped with a Pickup Tower, with additional expansion planned for 2019.
“Walmart’s new Check Out With Me service is quick and efficient. It makes our shopping experience easier and more convenient.”
-- Mayra, Orlando Walmart Customer
(4) Dotcom Store App
- Walmart launched a new program called Check Out With Me. Outfitted with cellular devices and Bluetooth printers, associates at select Florida stores can check out customers and provide a receipt, via print, text or email, on the spot. Currently all Florida Supercenters offer Check Out With Me.
“We’re excited about the innovative changes taking place in the retail industry and applaud Walmart for its continued investment in our communities as the company continues transforming the shopping experience for millions of customers,” said R. Scott Shalley, President & CEO, Florida Retail Federation. “Florida’s retailers are creating more inventive and efficient ways to respond to consumers’ demands, and the continuing evolution of brick-and-mortar stores will be an important part of this transformation.”
Walmart continues to enable our Associates to perform their daily tasks and serve customers in faster, easier ways. Over the past year, associates in Florida have been enabled with the following new tools, both behind the scenes and in the palm of their hands, to help make their jobs easier and customers’ experiences even better.
(5) Autonomous Shelf Scanner
- The Dotcom Store App allows associates to help customers shop via Walmart.com, using a handheld device, when a customer requests an item that is not available in stores or is out of stock. Customers receive either a printed ticket or email/text with a barcode that allows them to pay at any register in-store using any payment method (cash, check, credit/debit and Walmart Pay). This technology is available in all Florida stores.
- These scanners use automation to scan shelves and help identify where in-stock levels are low, prices are wrong or labels are missing. In addition, the scanners provide a real-time view of inventory in the store, information used to direct our associates to the areas of the store that need the most attention. As soon as we introduced the technology, our associates saw the opportunity for the scanner to focus on tasks that are repeatable, predictable and manual – freeing up their time to focus more on selling merchandise and serving customers.
(6) Handheld Apps
- Currently, nine stores across Florida are equipped with an autonomous shelf scanner.
(7) VR Training
- The company has rolled out a suite of apps available to all salesfloor associates across Florida, placing critical information directly into the hands of those assisting customers every day. A few examples of these apps include:
- The Price Change App: product price changes are categorized by aisle so that associates receive them in the order they should be made, creating an efficient path through the store.
- The Availability App: automates information about products that are out of stock and shows the associate specifically what time the out-of-stock occurred.
Two months ago, St. Petersburg Associate Chris Deeley went through the virtual reality training at the local Walmart Training Academy. For Deeley, who started with Walmart in 2012 after serving in the United States Air Force at MacDill Air Force Base, virtual reality provided a more effective learning environment, offering an individualized approach to how he learns best.
“It helps you in everyday situations because it puts you in everyday situations…you see from the customer’s point of view and the associate’s point of view, and the processes that are being met or failing. For the way I learn, it was better. I physically have to see it, hear it, feel it, and the virtual reality allows for that.”
-- Chris D., St. Petersburg Walmart Associate
(8) Store Maps
- As part of the company’s commitment to training and innovation, Walmart will begin training all associates using immersive, virtual reality technology at every Walmart store in Florida by the end of the fiscal year. This builds on the success of virtual reality training at Walmart’s nearly 200 Training Academies.
(9) Third-Party Returns in Stores
- The Walmart app now features a store map uniquely created for each Walmart store in Florida, helping customers quickly and easily find everything from the hottest toys to every day essentials. Just open the app in store or at home and search for the item-- the map will show the item’s exact location and new in-store signing helps customers quickly orient themselves within the store.
(10) FAST Unloader
- Customers returning items sold by third-party sellers on Walmart.com can now drop off what they want to return at Walmart instead of having to coordinate directly with the seller. All they have to do is package the product they would like to return at home and bring it to the store where an associate will help print the return label and send the item back to the seller. All Florida stores offer Third-Party Returns.
- Today, product is unloaded as it arrives at the store through a complex, highly manual process that has seen little innovation over the last 20 years – until now. We’re currently testing a new system in our backrooms- known as FAST- that automatically scans and sorts items off our trucks based on priority and department, allowing our associates to spend less time unloading in the back room and more time on the sales floor with our customers.
About Walmart in Florida
Walmart Inc. (NYSE: WMT) helps people around the world save money and live better - anytime and anywhere - in retail stores, online, and through their mobile devices. Each week, nearly 265 million customers and members visit our more than 11,200 stores under 55 banners in 27 countries and eCommerce websites. In Florida, we serve customers at 386 retail units and online through Walmart Grocery Pickup, Walmart.com and Jet.com. We are proud to employ 107,448 associates in Florida. Walmart supports local businesses, spending $7.7 billion with Florida suppliers in FY18, which supported 110,430 supplier jobs. Learn more at the Walmart Today blog, and our Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram channels.
- Currently, more than 25 stores in Florida are among those testing the FAST technology, including stores in the areas of Jacksonville, Fort Lauderdale, Orlando, Pensacola and Tampa Bay. Click on the photos below to learn more about how it works.