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Walmart’s four test centers to pilot new tech and in-store improvements

Walmart’s four test centers to pilot new tech and in-store improvements

Walmart announced that it has earmarked four stores as “test centers” for piloting new technology as well as in-store and omnichannel retail concepts and practices.

According to Supermarket News, Walmart Senior Vice President John Crecelius explained that the test center stores will attempt to find solutions that enable Walmart stores to operate as physical shopping venues and as e-commerce fulfillment centers for online shoppers. To that end, product and technology staff will be “permanently embedded” in these stores to test solutions in real time.

Crecelius said that Walmart has “identified these four stores across the country to serve as test centers where we will continuously rotate new technology, digital tools and physical enhancements in and out of the stores.” A Walmart spokesperson said the two test centers up and running so far include a Supercenter in Springdale, Arkansas, and a Neighborhood Market in Bentonville, Arkansas.

Currently not everything in a Walmart store is available online, but that’s one of the things that could change. The company is experimenting with “omni-assortments,” in which all eligible in-store items in a product category, like apparel, are also available online.

The new technology being developed includes an app that expedites the speed in which items get from the backroom to the sales floor, as well as hardware and software solutions focused on enhancing and reimagining a contact-free checkout experience for customers.

Crecelius said the test center stores will create a “true rapid prototype environment.” He added that solutions that work will be scaled, and those that don’t will be scrapped.