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Walmart testing format at its incubator location

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BENTONVILLE, Ark. — Wal­mart is testing a new store format that is designed to make the shopping experience more engaging and enjoyable for ­consumers.

Unveiled at the retailer’s incubator location, Store 4108 in Springdale, Ark., the concept is called Time Well Spent. It aims to make Walmart’s physical stores into destinations where customers want to spend their time.

“In today’s omnichannel world, customers still want to experience — touch, feel and try — items,” Alvis Washington, vice president of marketing – store design, innovation and experience, explains in a Web post. “So, we’re now aiming to make customers feel wowed and proud when they shop with us. We’re using powerful design elements to show off amazing products that wow our customers, and when they see the value, they are proud of their choice and purchase.”

Washington notes that Walmart last year announced the first phase of a store redesign that was focused on navigation and wayfinding. That effort generated feedback that was overwhelmingly positive, he says, adding that Walmart now has close to 1,000 stores that have been renovated to reflect that format, which makes it easier for customers to find what they need quickly.

“In this next phase of our redesign, we’re amplifying the physical, human and digital design elements in our stores to inspire customers and elevate the experience,” Washington says. “Physical elements include lighting, space enhancements, dynamic displays and more. Our visual merchandising experts have highlighted exciting brands and created engaging experiences that bring to life the human element. Finally, QR codes and digital screens create opportunities for digital exploration. But making the store more engaging isn’t enough. We have to do all of this in a way that is unique to Walmart.”

Key elements of the redesign include:

• Activated corners — “Exciting displays at the corners of certain departments pull customers in and help them touch, feel and become a part of the space, allowing them to discover all that we have to offer,” Washington notes.

• Elevated brand shops — Wal­mart says it is taking a “store within a store experience” to the next level with this store concept. “Apparel will highlight owned and national brands,” Washington says. “Great prices are a given, but we’ll celebrate quality and style, in style. New parents will not want for inspiration when they visit the Baby department. They will be greeted by elevated displays showcasing all the items needed to create a dream nursery as well as strollers and car seats that are brought out of the box to allow for test drives. Beauty will also showcase exciting shops where new and trending items are given a home, and men’s grooming tools can be seen and experienced.”

• More space to discover — “In these new reimagined spaces, we have purposefully created more space for our customers to explore and discover the breadth and depth of what our stores have to offer, and we’ve optimized assortment to elevate storytelling that draws customers in,” Washington says.

• Digital touchpoints — “Using our stores as an initial display of the great variety of products and brands, we can communicate to customers the vast range of products and services Walmart offers online through the strategic use of QR codes and digital screens.

Washington says customers have responded favorably to the new design. “I love hearing customers say this is their favorite Walmart store, and it makes me proud to be a part of the team leading this work,” he says. “We’ll continue to test, learn and make changes based on what our customers tell us. As we do that, we’ll quickly adjust and deliver an even better, more engaging experience in 2022 and beyond. After all, when customers choose to shop in-store with us, we want them to feel wowed and inspired — and that their time was well spent.”


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