Happy belated National App Day. What’s that? You don’t celebrate National App Day? Well, Walmart Canada does.
Of course, while the “holiday” may be one of those completely manufactured moments on the calendar created for business groups and special interests (who does approve these days, anyway?), apps actually have become a really big deal to Walmart and so the retail giant felt it should use National App Day on Wednesday to talk about their importance.
Smartphones, mobile apps and other digital technologies have been increasingly transforming the shopping experience for consumers. The Amazon Go shopping experience where customers simply walk in, pick up what they need and walk out is one much heralded example. Walmart, however is making similar moves including letting shoppers scan their purchases as they go using their My Walmart app to bypass the usual checkout process.
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However, as part of its goal to provide more innovative experiences for its customers, custom built apps are being provided to help employees deliver those experiences to its customers, smartly and efficiently. The company even has a team of app developers to work with store staff to modernize how they work and solve business problems.
In the last year, that development team launched more than 15 apps and sales staff usage increased more than 75%, with an estimated 4.5 million app uses.
Bespoke Walmart employee apps include:
- PlanIT, which provides staff with store performance data including sales, markdowns, inventory and customer experience scores;
- Availability App, allows staff to review out-of-stock items and improve product availability from the sales floor;
- Huddle Notes is a tool to improve communication among store staff at all levels and across shifts.
Walmart also recently introduced Check Out With Me, which lets sales associates scan merchandise and accept payment on the spot allowing them to check out customers on the store floor during busy periods (there’s also a bagging cart on wheels).
"It's amazing to see how often these apps are being used to drive efficiency in our stores and to help our associates,” said Jeffrey Hetherington, innovation field manager, Walmart Canada, in a press release. "Our app design team is always listening to associates in the stores and working to create apps that help them. Apps are making a huge difference for our business."