Retail stores are not dead, but they are certainly changing. Walmart has announced a major investment in upgraded store layouts that will begin with 200 of its stores by January, 2021 and another 800 by January, 2022. Some changes will involve more vibrant store signage and displays. Others will address changing consumer shopping behaviors such as self-service checkout and online order fulfillment.
The pandemic has accelerated e-commerce sales and stores now need to create dedicated space for customers who arrive to pick up their orders via curbside pick-up. Additionally, social distancing favors contactless checkout, so expect to see more mobile app scan and pay, plus QR code-based payments when the re-designed Walmart stores come to a neighborhood near you.
The following excerpt from a Chain Store Age article reports more on the topic:
Walmart has unveiled an airport-inspired, digitally-enabled store design that it plans to start rolling out this year. The redesign has a sleek, modern look and incorporates use of the Walmart app. It also features self-checkout kiosks as well as contactless payment solutions, including Walmart Pay. Select locations will also have Scan & Go, which lets customers manage their checkout directly using their mobile phones.
Walmart said it tested the new concept in select stores and is “excited” by the initial feedback from customers and employees. The design will be rolled out to nearly 200 locations by the end of this fiscal year (Walmart’s fiscal year runs through the end of January), reaching close to 1,000 stores by next fiscal year. As the new look is rolled out, the chain will “continue to get customer and associate feedback and evolve the design accordingly,” said Janey Whiteside, executive VP and chief customer officer, Walmart.
The new design features updated signage on the exterior and interior of stores that resembles the Walmart app icon. A large and very prominent blue arch — visible from across the huge parking lot — marks the order pickup area where shoppers can retrieve their online orders.
Overview by Raymond Pucci, Director, Merchant Services at Mercator Advisory Group