Walmart unveils app-assisted in-store experience
Walmart’s new store design and digital shopping experience, created by Walmart and global design consultancy FITCH, will help customers better navigate the omni shopping experience. End-to-end digital navigation guides customers throughout their shopping journey. A sleek design aesthetic appeals to shoppers, while an optimized layout spotlights products.
“We set out to create a more engaging experience that would allow both our associates and customers to better navigate their shopping needs in a highly customized and convenient way,” says Alvis Washington, VP of marketing – store design, innovation and experience for Walmart.
Updated signage reflects the Walmart app icon, while clean, colorful iconography and a store directory encourage use of the app. A bold, dimensional typeface spotlights sections such as seafood, beef, and dairy facilitates wayfinding. In aisles, letter-number combinations guide customers from phone to product, merging the physical and digital experience.
“We’re working hard to create ways for [shoppers] to easily toggle between shopping channels – or use them together,” Janey Whiteside, EVP and chief customer officer for Walmart, explains in a blog. “By creating a system that acknowledges our app navigation from beginning to end, we create an optimized omni experience for both customers and associates.”
Departments have been reorganized, and the store now features sections for electronics, toys, baby products, and more. And to maximize convenience for shoppers, the new design features more self-checkout kiosks as well as contactless payment solutions.
The new experience is a result of carefully thought-out strategy. The team let the customer guide decision making and embraced a mobile-first world, says Michelle Fenstermaker, strategy director for FITCH. “Our strategy was to be customer-centric, yet brand-led,” she says. “Delivering simplicity at scale became our end goal, and we learned the art of saying no to things that did not contribute to delivering a seamless in-store experience. We all agreed that delivering great value and an enhanced experience don’t have to be mutually exclusive.”
Special design elements include:
- ATL Airport Inspiration: The team looked at the Atlanta airport’s wayfinding systems as a best-in-class example of how to move large groups of people. According to the U.S. Department of Transportation’s most recent figures, the Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport is the busiest airport in the United States, handling 53.4 million passengers on 362,713 flights per year. The team developed simple, thoughtful designs to replicate these navigation efficiencies, which will help move customers through the store more quickly.
- Exterior: Blue highlights act as beacons to each major destination across the box. The illuminated signage ensures visibility no matter the time of day. The orange Pickup signage has been replaced with brand blue, while subtle, directional arrows point customers to each entrance.
- Walmart sign: The primary Walmart sign is now stacked and illuminated with a mesh metal backer that reflects the Walmart app icon. This immediately signals to customers that this store is something new and creates an instant omni-shopping experience in the customer’s mind.
Tested already in select stores, the concept has been well received and will be rolled out to nearly 200 Supercenters as well as to select Health Centers and Neighborhood Markets by the end of the fiscal year. Next fiscal year, nearly 1,000 stores will feature the new experience, and the retailer expects to continue evolving it in response to additional feedback.