Walmart's new custom-built suite of apps helps free up associates' back-end time to allow for better customer service
Walmart now offers a suite of custom-built apps that help store associates manage a variety of routine activities directly from a mobile store device, freeing up time to handle other important duties.
The custom-built suite of apps helps with tasks ranging from the moment a product arrives in the back room to the second a customer finds it on the shelf. In turn, it allows for an improved customer experience: As the apps drive efficiency and free up time spent on other tasks, associates are allowed to provide faster, better service with shoppers.
Among the new apps are:
This app is essentially an information hub associates can use to stay up to date on company and store announcements. The app helps store managers focus on efficiency, as they can use the app to notify department managers of projects that need to be finished that day and specific tasks required. The app also empowers associates to receive information directly from Walmart's home office that previously was provided to management alone.
The Receiving App
This app, with the simple scan of a truck ID, communicates with back-room associates exactly which products have just arrived at a store. This frees up time previously spent manually reviewing inventory while also simplifying the planning process required to know which items need to head to the sales floor.
The Downstock App
Once merchandise hits shelves, associates must ensure it's stocked throughout the day for shoppers. This app communicates with Walmart's Bossa Nova aisle-roaming robot, which scans shelves to gather data on which items are out of stock and where to find them in the store. Bossa Nova's information is then sent to associates through this app, freeing up the time spent on mundane tasks and allowing more face time with customers who need help finding products they need.
The Price Change App
Through this app, information about product price changes are categorized by aisle so associates receive them in the order they should be made. This creates an efficient path through the store – accurate pricing allows customers to make informed decisions on the products they want, and the app increases accuracy while drastically minimizing the time associates spend on the task.
The Availability App
This app provides insights into how a store is performing over time, automating information about products that are out of stock and showing associates specifically what time the out-of-stock occurred. Knowing this information allows associates to compare a store's performance before and after outs occur and determine the root cause – whether staffing issues, shelf capacity or product availability.
The Claims App
When shoppers return products to the store, associates have several options for handling the merchandise. This app outlines the best options available for a product in the order they should be considered. More specifically, it helps associates determine if a product should be sold at a clearance price, donated or disposed of.
The Sales App
This app updates a store’s sales numbers in real time so associates know how their designated areas are performing compared to the previous year, down to specific products. With information about top-selling categories in each department, associates are motivated to track their accomplishments so they can stay competitive with other stores in their market.
The new suite of apps continues Walmart's journey to better empower its employees both on and off the job. Other recent initiatives include:
A suite of services to help employees plan ahead for bills and savings goals while also allowing them access to wages ahead of paychecks for unexpected expenses.
Check Out With Me, which saves customers time by allowing on-the-spot payment in Walmart’s Lawn & Garden Centers for such products as flowers, soil and mulch. A customer walks in, chooses what he wishes to purchase, and then brings it to a Check Out With Me associate on the floor. Using a dedicated mobile scanning device, the associate scans the items, swipes the shopper’s credit or debit card, and then provides a printed receipt.
A new program for all Walmart U.S. and Sam’s Club associates that will allow them to pursue affordable, high-quality associate’s and bachelor’s degrees in business or supply chain management. Walmart subsidizes the cost of higher education, beyond financial aid and an associate contribution equivalent to $1 a day. Degrees are offered through the University of Florida, Brandman University and Bellevue University, all nonprofit schools with established track records of enabling adult learners to succeed.
In-store virtual reality training through Oculus Go headsets. By the year's end, every associate – including floor-level ones interacting the most with customers – will have access to the same training as their managers and department managers do at the Academies, with a combined 17,000 headsets available at Walmart stores nationwide. With more than 45 activity-based modules, the technology will help train associates in three main areas: new technology, soft skills like empathy and customer service, and compliance.
Randy Hofbauer is the former digital and technology editor of Progressive Grocer. He has more than a decade of experience as a content strategist, researcher and marketer, almost all of it covering CPG retailing. His insights and work have been cited in a nu Read More