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Walmart Deploying First-ever ‘Holiday Helpers’

For the first time, Wal-Mart Stores Inc. will deploy what the mega-retailer calls “an army of Holiday Helpers” to offer assistance to customers waiting in checkout lines. The helpers were sourced from existing employees. In anticipation of the festive season, the company has also increased the amount of products available through its Pickup service, lowered prices and thousands of items, and plans to add millions more products to in the near future.

“We are listening to our customers and looking for ways to simplify their busy lives,” explained Judith McKenna, COO, Walmart U.S. “Whether our customers are checking items off their grocery lists or their kids’ holiday lists, we want to make their shopping experiences easy and fun. This includes having clean, fast and friendly stores [with] an easier checkout experience; and enabling customers to shop seamlessly through services like Pickup.”

Starting Nov. 4, the Holiday Helpers, offering candy canes and good humor, will be on hand to assist customers in finding the shortest lines, to open registers as needed and even to get items customers might have forgotten. During peak times, stores will increase the number of helpers serving customers. In addition to the extra help, customers will see more than 150,000 planned demos and visits from Santa Claus, who will make 23,000 appearances throughout the season.

Among the items added to the Pickup service are apparel, seasonal décor, toys, and electronics for same-day Pickup. For a faster and easier experience, Walmart is allocating additional Pickup staff, including dedicated Pickup managers, in every one of its stores for the first time.

Walmart has grown its online assortment from about 8 million at the start of 2016 to 20 million currently, with millions of additional items slated to be added in the coming months. The company is also making its wider assortment easier to shop: As of Nov. 1, will feature a top-20 list of items to guide customers to exclusive offerings, value prices and unexpected products.

Bentonville, Ark.-based Walmart operates 11,539 stores under 63 banners in 28 countries, and e-commerce websites in 11 countries. The company employs more than 2.3 million associates worldwide.

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