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Walmart Canada reveals new tech-focused flagship store

The retailer’s ‘Store of the Future’ also boasts an expanded grocery offering that includes a hot meal counter
Walmart's fresh produce section with fruit and vegetables on display
(Click to expand)
Walmart's fresh produce section with fruit and vegetables on display
(Click to expand)

Walmart Canada has cut the ribbon on its newly-renovated flagship in Mississauga, Ont., which includes a heavy focus on in-store tech and an expanded grocery offering. 

Billed by the retailer as its “Store of the Future,” the 223,000-square-foot space located within Square One Shopping Centre in the city’s downtown core, has been designed with a focus on customer convenience and tech-enabled experiences. 

Upgrades to the store include digital and interactive maps for easier navigation, additional self-checkout kiosks, digital screens on shelf and more. 

“While we call it a store of the future it feels a lot like a Walmart still and that’s by design … But, we want to make sure we add some really interesting notes to how we’re digitizing the experience for our customers, but also simplifying operations for our associates,” said Walmart Canada’s chief operations officer John Bayliss, during the grand-reopening early Friday morning.

Boxes of Triscuit crackersnsitting on a shelf with digital shelf tags

One such area where technology is enhancing the experience for both customers and associates is in the cracker aisle. As part of a pilot, LCD screens running the length of the shelves not only display price tags, videos and customer reviews pulled from the retailer’s e-commerce site, but they can also be used to guide associates stocking or reconfiguring the shelves.

“There’s operational benefits ... When an associate goes to set the shelf, the computer screens can be turned on to show where items go, so it helps in the efficiency of how we build our modulars in the store,” explained Bayliss.

Though testing is underway in the grocery department, the screens lend themselves to other areas of the store, too, he said. “It brings to life imagery and video in a way the current [shelf tags] can’t.” 

The Hot Kitchen department at Walmart's flagship store in Mississauga

The grocery section, located on the basement-level of the store, has increased in response to the neighbourhood’s growing population. The fresh produce, meat and frozen food sections are larger and the store debuts a counter serving hot meals to go including signature black pepper chicken, jerk chicken and black pepper beef ranging in price from $6.97 to $13.97.

“This is really going to help us deliver on the customer needs,” said Paula Bonner, vice-president, format development, Walmart Canada. “We’ve expanded in fresh over double what we had before to make sure she can get everything ‘she’ needs in her grocery basket.” 

Other features of the store include the retailer’s first Walmart Health hub in Canada, which conveniently houses pharmacy, vision centre and a medical clinic within one specific area of the store.

A digital “concierge” board front and centre of the hub can help customers schedule pharmacy and optical appointments and find health and wellness products including a vitamin recommendation tool. 

Also, customers shopping for large-scale items such as patio furniture, barbecues and televisions can scan a QR code associated with the product they’re purchasing, pay for the item via their phone and then collect the item curbside. 

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