| Erie Times-News
A trip to Walmart might soon remind you of shopping on the retailer’s app.
Walmart unveiled a reimagined store design last week rolling out to 200 locations this fiscal year, which ends in early 2021, and 1,000 by next fiscal year that officials said will create a “seamless” omni shopping experience with more self-checkout kiosks and contactless payment options.
Janey Whiteside, the retailer’s chief customer officer and an executive vice president, said the design was planned before the coronavirus pandemic and one of the goals is to save shoppers time.
“We’re working hard to make it easy for customers to be able to toggle between their physical experiences that are in the store and their digital journeys,” Whiteside said in an interview with USA TODAY. “We think customers are going to really enjoy and find this a much easier shopping experience.”
Whiteside said Walmart tested the redesign in select stores in Arkansas and it evolved based on shopper and employee feedback. She said the design will come to more stores this fall and will continue to evolve based on additional feedback.
“By the end of this fiscal year, the experience will be in nearly 200 Supercenters as well as in select Health Centers and Neighborhood Markets, reaching close to 1,000 stores by next fiscal year,” Whiteside said in a blog post Wednesday.
Walmart’s reimagined store design
Whiteside said the design was inspired by “airport wayfinding systems as best-in-class examples of how to navigate large groups of people.”
Signs inside and outside stores will be updated to reflect the Walmart app icon, and visual reminders will encourage shoppers to download the app and use its item finder and map to navigate around the store.
The design focuses “on getting what you want as quickly as possible, so you’re not endlessly walking up and down aisles looking for items,” Whiteside told USA TODAY. The layout will bring greater visibility to sections dedicated to electronics, toys, baby products and more.
Self-checkout kiosks will use contactless payment solutions, including Walmart Pay, “to limit contact between associates and customers,” Whiteside said.
Select locations will have Scan & Go, part of the new Walmart+ membership program, she said in the blog post. The in-store feature will allow shoppers to scan items as they shop, then pay using Walmart Pay.
Contactless payment and item finder
Regardless of whether your Walmart is one of the first to get redesigned, there are some features available to all shoppers using the app, including the item finder with the maps and Walmart Pay options.
A few months ago, Walmart combined its Walmart Grocery app with its main app to allow consumers to shop for items in multiple departments, much like a trip to one of the company’s Supercenter stores.
Until the upgrade, shoppers could pick up groceries only at curbside but were able to order items from other departments for pickup in the store. The pandemic sped up Walmart’s plans to integrate the apps because of a surge in online and mobile shopping, Whiteside said.
Whiteside said COVID-19 advanced plans for the new store design rollout and contactless efforts. Customer interest and ease using contactless options has increased, she said.
“Whether you get the redesign now, next year or moving forward, you’ll still have access to Walmart+, Scan & Go, the delivery options,” Whiteside told USA TODAY. “This will just be another supporting aspect of that.”