Thursday, June 8, 2017
Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., president and CEO, Doug McMillon, told more than 14,000 attendees at the company’s 47th annual shareholders meeting in Fayetteville, Ark., last week that the company has “started to invent the future of shopping again,” as it leverages technology to empower associates and improve the customer experience.
McMillon told the gathering that Walmart will “make shopping with us faster, easier and more enjoyable. We’ll do more than just save customers money
Looking ahead, we will compete with technology, but win with people. We will be people-led and tech-empowered.”
McMillon highlighted several initiatives that will help to drive company results by creating a better working experience for associates and shopping experience for customers. Among the new initiatives:
- A 20-by-80-foot refrigerated self-serve kiosk, being tested in the parking lot of a Supercenter in Warr Acres, Oklahoma, where customers can pick up online grocery orders without interacting with employees;
- An automated pickup tower where customers can retrieve their online non-grocery orders;
- Walmart is testing a program where participating store associates will be paid to deliver store items to customers’ homes. It’s an effort to improve “last mile” delivery and increase the retailer’s reach into suburban and rural communities;
- Digital endless-aisle shopping in stores;
- Pickup stations in store parking lots, and a discount for customers picking up online orders in stores;
- 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;• Jet Fresh delivery, which provides delivery of fresh groceries to homes in one or two days and is now available to half of the U.S. population.
McMillon struck an optimistic tone about the future of work and technology during his presentation, telling the gathering that while investments are being made in technology, “the secret to our success will always be our people.”
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.
WATCH: Walmart CEO: ‘We will compete with technology but win with people’