Walmart opens cashierless store in Florida

Walmart opened a cashierless Neighborhood Market store last week in Coral Way, Florida, featuring online grocery pickup, same-day delivery and its Check Out With Me program, according to a company blog post.

Walmart has faced some challenges with its Neighborhood Market format, shuttering a number of locations during the past few years, including eight closures in 2019. At the time Walmart cited the stores’ financial performance as one of the reasons for its closures. By reducing dependence on cashiers in its latest opening in Florida, the retail giant could cut down on labor costs and potentially boost margins.

This isn’t the first time Walmart has experimented with its smart checkout offerings. In October 2018, Check Out With Me — designed to handle smaller transactions — debuted to soften holiday shopping congestion at the checkout counters, according to Business Insider. Months earlier in May 2018, Walmart ended its Scan & Go offering that enabled customers to pay for items while they browsed the store and skip the checkout line altogether. During the four-month period it was available, however, few customers used the service. Providing an employee to assist with quick checkout via Check Out With Me could alleviate challenges with bagging items like loose produce or large, bulky items.

Walmart is just one of many retailers trying to balance consumer demand for faster checkout with shopper reluctance on different tech options aimed to boost the experience. Many of those solutions still come with headaches, from unrecognized items in the bagging area and glitches with payment to lines that pile up at self-checkout kiosks — all of which can lead to poor customer experiences. Walmart’s decision to have no cashiers could free up employees to address issues with processing transactions as they arise. Offering two methods of checking out including one system for smaller baskets could also keep traffic moving.

Harris Teeter also started testing a cashierless concept in Charlotte last year. The store typically processes smaller transactions than traditional store locations with foot traffic primarily coming from urban residents and professionals, according to Retail Wire.

In lieu of committing to a self-checkout-only store, other retailers are working on technology-backed solutions to facilitate smoother checkout transactions. Ahold Delhaize recently unveiled its “frictionless” smart checkout service that lets shoppers scan items with a store app, select products and then leave, while Tesco invested in smart checkout startup Trigo. Other startups are also popping up offering turnkey smart checkout solutions to grocery retailers like Accel Robotics, Standard Cognition, Zippin and Grabango.

Source: grocerydive.com

Walmart selling ModCloth

Walmart is selling ModCloth to Go Global Retail. The terms of the deal, expected to close later this year, were not announced.

The discount giant acquired ModCloth in March 2017 as part of a move to increase its brand portfolio and target younger, higher-income shoppers with brands not available on Amazon. But ModCloth, along with several other of the acquired brands, including Bonobos, have yet to turn a profit, according to Recode.

Founded in 2002, ModCloth sells exclusive indie fashions and its own vintage-inspired line of apparel and accessories, with a target audience of women 18 to 35. In addition to its e-commerce capabilities, ModCloth has opened several showroom-styledstores. It also has a deal with Nordstrom.

Go Global Retail describes itself has a brand investment platform for strategic investors in the consumer sector. It has worked with other apparel companies including Guess and Billabong, according to its website.

“We believe that ModCloth’s strong brand equity positions it for growth in the future,” said Ashley Hubka, senior VP of corporate strategy, development and partnerships at Walmart. “We feel good about the progress at ModCloth and believe that Go Global’s team and scale out strategy presents an attractive opportunity for the employees and customers of this beloved brand.”

Go Global said that ModCloth will continue to operate as a freestanding, independent brand out of its current operational set up. Go Global Retail will invest in the fashion retailer’s digital capabilities, including artificial intelligence and predictive analytics.

“We believe that together with current management, ModCloth has the ability to become a stronger player in the premium fashion market, nationally as well as internationally,” stated Go Global’s Jeff Streader.

ModCloth will continue focusing on its core customers; championing values of female empowerment and inclusivity; and further serving their passionate buying community by celebrating their stories and offering a full range of sizes, the company stated.

Source: chainstoreage.com

Walmart unveils enhanced supercenter

Walmart is upping its supercenter experience.

The retail giant officially opened its remodeled supercenter in Dallas, Georgia. The store offers an enhanced shopping experience in many departments, expanded assortment and displays.

Along with opening the doors to the supercenter, Walmart debuted its new standalone health clinic format, Walmart Health, which is adjacent to the remodeled store. It offers a full array of health and wellness services, with primary care, lab tests, X-rays, counseling, dental, optical, hearing and community health education.

The remodeled supercenter boasts an enhanced omnichannel shopping experience. Customers who use the chain’s free Pickup service to have online orders delivered to the store can leverage an in-store pickup tower (a tall, vending machine-styled kiosk holding customer orders) using their mobile device. Walmart has also renovated an outdoor pickup area for online grocery orders with a newly-installed canopy.

In-store enhancements include a new pharmacy concept that, based on customer feedback, is designed to simplify and enhance customer service while reducing friction and wait times. In addition, the redesigned vision center features multiple service areas so customers can decide how and where they want to receive service.

The remodeled store also boasts an in-store retail veterinary clinic, Essential PetCare. The clinic provides affordable wellness services for dogs and cats, including routine care, vaccinations, lab work and the treatment of minor illnesses such as ear infections and common skin conditions. (Walmart opened its first in-store Essentials PetCare in Port Richey, Florida, in 2016.).

Other redesigned departments include an upgraded electronics department with interactive displays, a refreshed baby department with strollers at floor level allowing shoppers to compare products more closely, and an expanded hardware department with a greater assortment of industrial and power tools. The remodeled auto center has been made over to include a dedicated lounge area where customers can wait for their cars to be fixed.

Source: chainstoreage.com

Walmart in Mexico launches grocery orders via WhatsApp

Walmart’s Mexico unit has begun offering grocery delivery from its Superama stores via messaging service WhatsApp, in a new stab at attracting shoppers outside bricks-and-mortar supermarkets.

WhatsApp, the free text-messaging service owned by social media platform Facebook, is ubiquitous throughout Mexico. Superama shoppers can text an order to a WhatsApp number run by Walmart, known in Mexico as Walmart de Mexico.

A Reuters reporter tried the service on Monday, sending a photo of a handwritten grocery list. A company representative responded immediately, punctuating responses with smiley-face and winky-face emojis.

The representative said Superama charges 49 pesos ($2.55) for delivery within 90 minutes, or 39 pesos ($2.03) for a later delivery time, and would accept payment in cash or by card upon delivery.

Superama represents about 92 of Walmart’s 2,459 stores in Mexico, which is the U.S. retailer’s largest overseas market by store count. Superama already takes orders via its website and a Superama app, as well as through Cornershop, a third-party delivery app that sells goods for a variety of other stores.

Walmart’s plan to buy Cornershop, which operates in Mexico and Chile, for $225 million, was blocked earlier this month by Mexico’s competition regulator, which said that Walmart could not guarantee an even playing field for rivals also using the app.

 

Source: Reuters