Walmart steps up digital transformation to improve customer experience

Walmart CEO Doug McMillon, announcing its financial result for the first quarter of 2024, has revealed how its investment in digital transformation is improving customer experience.
Sam's Club Deploys AI-Powered Exit TechnologyWalmart does not reveal its investment in digital transformation. Suresh Kumar is the global Chief Technology Officer and Chief Development Officer of Walmart, responsible for spending in technology.

Walmart reported first-quarter revenue of $161.5 billion (up 6 percent) as its eCommerce sales grew 21 percent, led by store fulfilled pickup and delivery and marketplace. Walmart says gross margin rate rose 42bps, and operating income grew by $0.6 billion, or 9.6 percent.

“We’re people-led and tech-powered, and that combination is propelling our business,” Doug McMillon, President and CEO of Walmart, said.

Walmart is making investment in areas that have strong capital returns like automation, store remodels, and digital tools and technologies.

ACHIEVEMENTS

In India, Flipkart expanded the same-day delivery to 20 cities targeting more customers. Walmart U.S. achieved 22 percent growth in e-commerce sales, contributing to 3.8 percent overall growth, led by store-fulfilled, pickup and delivery, marketplace, and advertising. Walmart U.S. achieved strong growth in traffic and sales across both stores and digital channels.

Walmart says Plus membership represents 54 percent of its member base thanks to deepening digital engagement with members.

Walmart also revealed that a third of members are using Scan & Go now.

Sam’s Club has deployed Scan & Go, an application powered by artificial intelligence and computer vision technology, in more than 120 clubs (representing about 20 percent of clubs) since introducing it at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in January. Scan & Go enables member customers to leave the shop without waiting in line for receipt verification.

“This is an example of people-led, tech-powered, solving for technology that benefits the member experience. We’ll remain focused on improving customer and member experiences, being great merchants, building our newer businesses, and improving returns,” Doug McMillon said.

The deployment of the Scan & Go technology has improved the experience for Sam’s Club members and more than half of members have used the friction-free exit experience. Members, who are using the Scan & Go technology, are leaving the club 23 percent faster. Sam’s Club plans to deploy the exit technology to all of its clubs by the end of 2024.

“Both exit technology and Scan & Go are driving new levels of convenience and raising member satisfaction among members. What distinguishes Sam’s Club from our competitors is our ability to seamlessly deploy this technology at scale across our nearly 600 clubs nationwide,” said Todd Garner, chief product officer, Sam’s Club.

Walmart has over 13 million customers have engaged with BAIT, its digital connectivity.

In 2021, Walmart started Walmart Data Ventures, a division focusing on data analytics to enhance the customer experience through Walmart Luminate, its comprehensive data analytics product suite. The target of Walmart Data Ventures is to become a global leader in insights and analytics.

Walmart is also expanding data analytics and insights product, Walmart Luminate, into Mexico and Canada, to drive business. Walmart Luminate platform will be available for analysing Shopper Behavior followed by Channel Performance and Customer Perception, as part of the initial launch.

The launch of Walmart Luminate has aided in optimizing retail strategies – from product assortment to product development. 90 percent of Walmart’s largest suppliers have signed up for a Walmart Luminate Charter subscription, and some of its smaller suppliers account for approximately 50 percent of the total subscriptions.

“Walmart Luminate empowers us to tailor our offerings to consumer needs, ensuring unparalleled shopping experiences. Extending this capability to Walmex and Walmart Canada will further enhance our ability to make data-driven decisions,” said Amanda Coussoule, vice president of sales for Walmart at Kimberly-Clark.

Walmart, through the acquisition of Volt Systems in 2022, is providing on-demand visibility to store operators and primary service providers to ensure customers can find the right product. Customers are enhancing their experience at stores and digital platforms as Walmart are increasing its focus on investment in latest technology solutions.

Baburajan Kizhakedath

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