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Walmart Wows Customers With Interactive Store Design

Retailer unveils next phase of redesign, elevating the shopping experience for customers in home state
Marian Zboraj, Progressive Grocer

Walmart is innovating its in-store experience with an interactive approach, allowing today's omnichannel customers to touch, feel and try new items. The retail giant has unveiled a signature experience in its incubator store that it calls “Time Well Spent,” focusing on making Walmart a destination where customers want to do their shopping.  

Time Well Spent is the second phase of Walmart’s store redesign project aimed at reimagining ways to create seamless omni-shopping experiences. Last year, the company revealed the first phase, which focused on navigation and wayfinding. The company now has close to 1,000 stores renovated with this new design to help customers save time in finding what they need.

In the next phase of its redesign, Walmart is amplifying the physical, human and digital design elements to show off products in stores. Physical elements include lighting, space enhancements and dynamic displays. According to the company, Walmart’s visual merchandising experts have highlighted exciting brands and created engaging experiences that bring to life the human element. QR codes and digital screens also create opportunities for digital exploration.

Walmart unveiled this Time Well Spent redesign phase in its incubator location, Store 4108 in Springdale, Ark.

“Early results show that customers are wowed by the redesign,” wrote Alvis Washington, VP, marketing store design, innovation and experience at Walmart, in a blog post. “I love hearing customers say this is their favorite Walmart store, and it makes me proud to be a part of the team leading this work.”

Here are more details on Walmart’s design principles that bring the Time Well Spent experience to life 

  • Activated corners: Displays at the corners of certain departments pull customers in and help them touch, feel and become a part of the space.
    • The Home department will feature a living room or bedroom set up where the customer can squeeze a throw pillow or feel the coziness of a blanket, and then find those items on-site to purchase and take home, or order them online.
  • Elevated brand shops: Taking a “store-within-a-store experience” to the next level.
    • Apparel will highlight owned and national brands.
    • New parents will be greeted by elevated displays in the Baby department, showcasing all of the items needed to create the ideal nursery, as well as strollers and car seats that are brought out of the box to allow for test drives.
    • The Beauty department will showcase shops where new and trending items are given a home, and men’s grooming tools can be seen and experienced.
  • More space to discover: In these reimagined spaces, Walmart has purposefully created more space for customers to explore what the stores have to offer, and the retailer has optimized assortment to elevate storytelling that draws shoppers in.
  • Digital touchpoints: Using Walmart stores as an initial display of the variety of products and brands, the retailer can communicate to customers the vast range of products and services it offers online through the strategic use of QR codes and digital screens. For example, in the Pets area, a customer may scan the QR code to find additional dog bed options, learn about Walmart’s pet insurance service options or have a 20-pound bag of kibble delivered to their door.

“We’ll continue to test, learn and make changes based on what our customers tell us,” noted Washington. “As we do that, we’ll quickly adjust and deliver an even better, more engaging experience in 2022 and beyond. After all, when customers choose to shop in-store with us, we want them to feel wowed and inspired – and that their time was well spent.”

Walmart continues to earn high marks for meeting the evolving needs of customers. For instance, the retailer was among the top 15 retailers with the highest overall customer scores in the dunnhumby Retailer Preference Index, a comprehensive nationwide study of the approximately $1 trillion U.S. grocery market. 

Bentonville, Ark.-based Walmart operates approximately 10,500 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

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