Airport wayfinding inspires new Walmart layout

Stewart Samuel
Program Director - Canada
@RetailAnalysis

Date : 30 September 2020

Walmart has revealed a new look and feel for its US Supercenters, with inspiration taken from airports to help its shoppers complete a fast and easy trip.

App driven experience

Walmart has developed a new look and feel for its stores, as reported by the Associated Press. Tested in one store, the exterior and interior of the stores will feature the Walmart app icon. The store entrance area will feature iconography and a store directory that encourages customers to download and use the Walmart app while they shop.

Source: Walmart

Aisles will feature letter and number combinations to guide customers from phone to products. New signage, featuring bold dimensional typeface, will help to spotlight different departments fresh foods, baby products and toys. Commenting on the initiative Janey Whiteside, executive vice president and chief customer officer, Walmart US, stated,

“We were inspired by airport wayfinding systems as best-in-class examples of how to navigate large groups of people.”

Source: Walmart

1,000 stores to be updated by early 2022

Walmart has been working on a new layout plan for its Supercenters for over a year, recently debuting a new cashier-less checkout concept at a store in Bentonville, Arkansas. Its work in this area has been accelerated by the COVID-19 pandemic, with shoppers looking for faster and easier visits, underpinned by a contactless experience. The retailer plans to roll-out the concept to 200 stores by early next year and a further 800 stores by early 2022.

Source: Walmart

Leading industry change

Walmart is one of the first retailers globally to redesign its stores on a more permanent basis to reflect changing shopper needs. While there had been concerns that Walmart was structurally challenged by its network of Supercenters over the longer term, the pandemic has increased its relevancy. The larger store footprint, wide aisles, omnichannel integration and multi-category range support how consumers are currently shopping.

Building on major improvements to the network

Over the last three years, Walmart’s Supercenters have been significantly improved. Apart from the operational improvements and the introduction of new technologies, most stores have been remodelled and integrated into the retailer’s omnichannel programmes, following the launch of a new look in Houston in 2017. More recently, Walmart has also rolled-out its Produce 2.0 programme, significantly enhancing the fresh food experience. Future developments are also likely to include the incorporation of its new Walmart Health format, along with store optimisation to support ecommerce fulfillment.

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