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Walmart is the world’s largest retailer. But that hasn’t stopped them from constantly seeking new ways to expand, improve customer service, and increase inbound channels of revenue. A part of the philosophy that got this American multinational retailing corporation to the top is to never rest on your laurels, even when you are raking in truly stupendous amounts money each and every day.
The most recent in-store innovation at Walmart has been the introduction of a simple touch screen monitor in the toy aisle of a few of its Texas stores. This touch screen monitor, however, contains a virtually unlimited catalogue of toys – far more than can be represented in the aisle of even the largest Walmart superstores. The point of this touch screen kiosk is to offer customers a simple and easy-to-use system to find the exact toy they’re after and order it online right then and there in the store.
Don’t see the toy you’re looking for on the shelves? That’s all right – pop on over to the interactive touch screen kiosk, look up the item you’re after on the Walmart website and place an order on the spot.
“We’re testing how to interact with the customer differently, understanding better how they want to shop,” says Brett Briggs, Walmart’s CFO, at the Raymond James Investor Conference.
The project is starting out in the toy aisle of a few selected Walmart’s in Texas but if it proves successful, it could expand to virtually every single department, providing customers with convenient access to the products they want without having to go home, search for them online and purchase them then. This could be a major kick in the guts to online retailers such as Amazon!
According to Briggs, the touch screen technology they’ve installed is generous in size and promotes an “endless aisle-type concept.”
The touch screen doesn’t only provide customers with a comprehensive toy catalogue; it can also help customers find what they’re looking for without actually knowing what they’re looking for. For example, let’s say you need to buy a toy for a baby shower or for a friend’s kid and you don’t have any children of your own so you have no idea what to buy. This new technology is designed to help you by asking questions…
“’Do you want a gift?” – Select “Yes”
“Is it for a boy or girl, or either?” – Choose “Either”
“Pick the age you want” – Select “8”
The touch screen computer then provides you with a list of all the toys and items that are best sellers for children of that age group.
So, in addition to showing customers a list of items that can be found in that particular store and helping them to find the best gift, the new touch screens allow them to view the global catalogue of toys and to order what they want from the Walmart website right then and there and have it delivered to their home.
It doesn’t end there.
According to Briggs, Walmart is also in the process of testing its Scan and Go technology, which will negate the full-service checkout. As is popular in New Zealand and Australia, many stores are making the transition to self-checkout systems, which are overseen by store personnel to make sure things run smoothly and honestly. At one of Walmart’s test stores, they only have six full checkouts and the rest is self-checkout, facilitated by Scan and Go, which even allows customers to pay using their smartphones.
Currently, Briggs is unwilling to discuss the plans for the roll out of their touch screen and self-checkout technology, but they’re testing… and according to several online sources, Amazon should be worried!