Walmart has taken the wraps off [email protected], a new app built in house by Walmart Global Tech for the company’s U.S. store associates. Touted as the first of its kind, the resource “provides an exclusive destination filled with new features to simplify daily tasks, serve our customers and plan for life outside of work,” wrote Drew Holler, SVP, Walmart U.S. people operations, and Kellie Romack, VP, product and associate experience, in a recent blog post. “The idea of this app started as a way to manage associates’ schedules and has grown into our single in-store app for U.S. associates, saving them time and helping them be more efficient.”
Further, to ensure that associates are able to access the app, Walmart plans to give more than 740,000 employees a new Samsung Galaxy XCover Pro smartphone, case and warranty – free of charge – by the end of the year. “Associates will only be able to access the app’s work features while they’re on the clock, but they can also use the smartphone as their own personal device if they want, with all the features and privacy they’re used to,” explained Holler and Romack.
Up until now, associates have shared company handheld devices. Walmart did an initial test with the new smartphones earlier this year, which it’s now expanding, and will continue to evaluate to make sure it’s providing associates with the best tools to do their jobs. [email protected]’s capabilities are powered by such best-in-class technology as machine learning, augmented reality, camera vision and artificial intelligence, enabling users to tackle complex problems.
The intuitive, easy-to-use app’s features include:
- Scheduling: Associates can easily view their shifts up to two weeks in advance, check on their upcoming paid time off, and request changes to their schedule, if needed.
- Mobile Clock-In: Using geofencing technology, associates can clock in by tapping a button once they arrive at the store.
- Push-to-Talk: This enables associates to instantly connect with one another, helping them work as a team to stay nimble and react to customers’ needs.
- Ask Sam: This voice-activated personal assistant for work saves time by letting associates ask questions to quickly locate merchandise and get answers for customers. Associates can even look up the metrics that drive their business. Earlier, this feature was available to some associates as a separate app, but it’s now accessible to all via [email protected]
In the coming months the company plans to add another feature to the app to help speed up the time it takes stocking associates to get items from the back room to the sales floor. Rather than scan each box separately, an associate will be able to hold up the device and, using augmented reality, highlight the boxes that are ready to go. As a result, products will arrive on shelves faster. In a pilot held last year, the patent-pending capability took a third less time than the previous manual process.
“As retail continues to evolve – and quickly – it’s more critical than ever to equip our people with the tools and technology they need for success,” noted Holler and Romack. “Doing so makes work easier and more enjoyable, and it keeps the focus where we need it most – delivering a great in-store, pickup and delivery experience for our customers.”
Bentonville, Ark.-based Walmart operates more than 11,300 stores under 48 banners in 24 countries, and e-commerce websites, employing 2.2 million-plus associates worldwide. Walmart U.S. is No. 1 on The PG 100, Progressive Grocer’s 2021 list of the top food and consumables retailers in North America, while Walmart-owned Sam’s Club ranks No. 9 on the list.