First look at the new Walmart Express banner in Mexico

Date : 24 November 2020

Oliver Butterworth

Retail Analyst

On November 5 Walmart Mexico (Walmex) opened the first store under its Walmart Express banner. Following our in-depth look at the strategy and expansion plans for the new banner, we now take a closer look at the pilot store and its new features.

Source: Walmex

Refreshed design and layout

The store’s design has been modernised. New signage, with large lettering and colourful images, is used to help customers quickly locate the categories they are looking for.

Meanwhile, a new layout helps to streamline the shop and save customers’ time. Fresh produce is positioned at the store’s front, allowing Walmex to showcase the freshness and quality of its fruit and vegetables as the customer enters.

Source: Walmex

All perishable products are grouped in one area, making it easier to shop across all fresh categories. The area feels more spacious, with low level fixtures giving customers clear sight lines. Care is given to products’ presentation too.

Source: Walmex

Addition of the Café Marketside brand in-store

Larger stores will feature Walmex’s Café Marketside in-store café, which have been popular in many of its Supercenters (hypermarkets). The first Walmart Express to have the addition will be the second store opening of 2020, which will be in the city of Mérida. This store is scheduled to open towards the end of November.

The café will be strategically positioned next to the bakery, making it convenient for customers to cross shop and enjoy a pastry with their coffee.

Café Marketside in a Walmart Supercenter

Source: IGD Research

New bakery concept

Superama has several categories are particularly relevant to and popular with customers. For example, the brand has become widely known for the premium quality of its fresh bakery offer. Express stores will, therefore, retain Superama’s bakery range. The area dedicated to the bakery offer has been expanded, making it easier for customers to see the products and navigate through it.

Source: Walmex

Walmex will also maintain Superama’s wine selection, which was popular with customers.

Source: Walmex

Prepared foods for all meal occasions

Walmex has enhanced its food-to-go offer to include several prepared food options for consumers to eat now, take out or cook at home. The aim is to target three customer needs: meal solutions (to cook at home), grab and go (e.g. sandwiches), and ready to eat (hot options for immediate consumption). The counters offer a selection of sandwiches, sushi, traditional Mexican foods, pizza (whole or by the slice), hot chicken, fries, deserts, fruit juices and more.  

Source: Walmex

Self-checkouts to support quicker shops

Larger stores will feature self-checkouts, which are not yet commonplace in Mexico. Walmart was the first retailer to introduce self-checkouts in Mexico in 2018 (in one of its Supercenters). To our knowledge it is now the first retailer in the country to implement these in a supermarket.

Self-checkouts will help to reduce waiting times at staffed-checkouts and will speed up the payment process for customers performing smaller shops.

Source: Walmex

Blending the online and offline experiences

Express stores will feature a new in-store PickUp counter for the collection of online orders. To save space, this also functions as a customer service desk. This could be a game changer as it enables customers to pay for online orders with cash.

Source: Walmex

Walmex will continue to develop its external (car-focused) PickUp service, which enables customers to collect online orders without leaving their cars. Stores with enough space will feature drive-through style PickUp areas in their car parks, while smaller stores will have designated parking bays where shopping is brought out to them. Walmex is looking to add more PickUp bays at stores where the service is popular.  

A digital kiosk near stores’ entrance will enable customers to browse/order from Walmex’s wider online catalogue.

Combining ecommerce platforms

Walmex plans to gradually combine its various ecommerce platforms. Currently it is altering the look and feel of the Superama app to resemble Walmart Express. The next step will be to fully convert the Superama app/website to Walmart Express. Further down the line, the Walmart Express and Walmart apps/website will merge, which will simplify the user experience across all platforms. Staff at the PickUp desk are on hand to demonstrate how to use the new platform.

Our view

The Express format combines Superama’s product quality with the EDLP (everyday low prices) of Walmart’s Supercenters. This will make the stores more desirable to a wider customer base. Shopping for everyday items will become more affordable, while Superama’s most popular and premium lines will still be available.

The new layout facilitates a broader range of shopping missions (e.g. the weekly shop, replenishment, food for now), which help the store to appeal to time-poor customers. The addition of self-checkouts should help customers save time, whilst reducing congestion at the main checkouts.

The omnichannel services have been better democratised for shoppers, who now have greater choice over how and when they buy/collect online orders. The new PickUp counters will be popular with Mexican consumers who do not have credit cards. Similarly, not everyone in Mexico owns a car, so the PickUp car service could not be used universally.

Walmart is the last remaining major foreign operator in China. In this report, we look at whether Walmart will also exit China, tell its story in numbers, discuss the key strategic areas in detail and showcase the latest high-tech hypermarket store in Shenzhen.

An essential summary of trading priorities, latest developments, and other key commercial insights for Walmart.

See the latest industry news on Latin America.