Walmart Holds Customer Experience on Pedestal

Walmart CEO Doug McMillon is always very cognizant of the importance of customer experience and offering the tools for consumers to interact seamlessly.

Embracing technology to empower associates and improving the customer experience are the two priorities for McMillon and Walmart.

“Together, we’re building a new Walmart,” McMillon told more than 14,000 associates from across the U.S. and around the world in Bud Walton Arena at the University of Arkansas at last week’s 47th Annual Shareholders’ Meeting. “We’re going to make shopping with us faster, easier and more enjoyable. We’ll do more than just save customers money and you, our associates, will make the difference. Looking ahead, we will compete with technology, but win with people. We will be people-led and tech-empowered.”

Walmart announced the company recently began a trial that enables store associates to deliver store items to customers to improve “last mile” delivery. The trial, which is early in development, pays participating store associates to deliver customer packages on their existing commute home from work, substantially increasing the retailer’s reach into suburban and rural communities.

What’s more, McMillon noted other tests that will empower and benefit customers, including:

Digital endless-aisle shopping in stores; automated pickup towers in stores for online orders; pickup stations in store parking lots; robotics and image analytics to scan aisles for item availability and shelf presentation; machine learning and more advanced algorithms in pricing systems; free two-day shipping on more than two million items, with no membership fee; a discount for customers picking up online orders in stores; grocery pickup in many markets around the world and delivery from stores in some; and Jet Fresh delivery, which provides delivery of fresh groceries to the home in 1-2 days and is now available to half of the U.S. population and growing.

While Walmart will always be a place where associates can learn to run a store or lead a distribution center, McMillon noted that the company is creating jobs in new areas, including data scientists, machine-learning engineers, and mobile app developers.

“More than ever, Walmart will be a ladder of opportunity,” he said.

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McMillon spoke about the company’s role in serving communities. “Customers have always trusted us for our low prices, but they also want to know that the products they buy are good for their families, the planet and the people that made them,” he said.

Chirpify CEO Chris Teso told Loyalty360 that he was impressed by McMillon’s message.

“Integrating more technology into the future of shopping will certainly improve the Walmart customer experience,” Teso said. “However, it’s Doug McMillon’s comment that hints at Walmart furthering its mobile app that I find most interesting. With ever-decreasing time and attention spans, consumers are loyal to brands that save them time, engage in the moment, and make doing business with them easier. Consumers have a remote control in their hands and they want brands to provide utility, allowing them to seamlessly interact with the brand over mobile at their convenience.”

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