Innovation

At Store No. 8, a Look Toward Retail’s Future

These days, if something is convenient, it’s probably been made possible by technology.

Over the past few years, the possibilities of what we can do, obtain, expect – have all shifted drastically. That’s especially true when it comes to retail. We now live in a time when we can simply tap our fingers on a smartphone screen to order almost anything and have it delivered, for free, in two days or less. And not too far off is the ability to experience shopping in a virtual setting without leaving the comfort of our homes.

These digitally enabled experiences are shaping the future of commerce. My team, Store No. 8, works to pinpoint the ideas, people and innovations that will be a part of that. We’re a standalone incubation arm within Walmart, which means we get to do things from a unique position: Not only do we have the benefit of Walmart’s vantage point into the heart of America, but by operating somewhat apart from the corporation, we have the freedom to develop new ideas that can thrive outside existing definitions of retail.

Today’s consumers have rapidly evolving expectations. To keep up, you’ve got to constantly be on watch for what’s new. At the same time, you have to be comfortable with those new things always changing. Building new horizons in the context of a company like Walmart is pretty amazing, because new technologies and business models can impact so much – from everyday things like making grocery shopping a little more convenient, to the extraordinary: changing key ways the retail world works.

So, just as the mouse has given way to touchscreens, there are all sorts of possibilities for the changes that lie waiting in the future. At Store No. 8, our job is to get ahead of those shifts, by continually spotting and seizing the technologies that get us there.

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U.S. Manufacturing

Take a ‘Topeka’ the Mars Candy Factory in Kansas

When you open a package of M&M’s and pour the colorful candy-shelled chocolates into your hand, you may not give much thought to where the candy was made.

Neither did I, until I had the chance to meet some of the people who create these delicious little treats at the Mars Wrigley Confectionery in Topeka, Kansas.

The Topeka facility specializes in creating filled M&M’s ─ like the brand-new M&M’s Caramel, as well as Snickers candy bars. Next year it will add Twix candy bars to the list. And they’re adding 70 new jobs to help take on the expanded production. Over 95% of Mars Wrigley Confectionery products sold in the U.S. are made locally by the company’s team of over 5,000 associates working across 12 domestic sites. More than 300 associates work at the Topeka facility.

Walmart is proud to work with companies like Mars Wrigley to bring locally-made products to customers. That’s why we’ve committed to buy an additional $250 billion in products through 2023, creating new jobs across communities like Topeka.

Check out this video to meet the people who make your favorite candy.

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Innovation

Tracking Turkey: New Tech Tells the Farm-to-Table Story

Taking that first bite of Grandma’s green bean casserole made from your family’s secret recipe. Watching football with your Uncle Bob who falls asleep before half time. Giving thanks around the dinner table with family.

These moments give us Thanksgiving Day stories to tell for future generations. But as we enjoy that feast and time with loved ones, there is another story to be told – one that starts with a family of farmers laying feed for their turkeys.

As the senior buyer for turkeys and hams, I’m excited about helping make Thanksgiving meals even better. We believe customers shouldn’t have to choose between products that are affordable or good for the environment, so we are working with suppliers like Cargill to offer items that are good for families, communities and the planet. Part of that is providing customers with easy access to information, which gives them peace of mind that they are purchasing the best products for their families this holiday.

For the first time this Thanksgiving, we’re testing new blockchain technology on packaging of Fresh Honeysuckle White® turkeys, in the Texas area, allowing customers to get the full story behind the star of their meal by tracing their turkey from a family farm to their table.

Track your Thanksgiving turkey

Do you know where your Thanksgiving turkey came from? New tech is helping us answer that question — and more.

Posted by Mic on Tuesday, November 21, 2017

This turkey technology is innovative, but also pretty simple. You just go to Walmart and pick out a turkey, then text or enter the package’s code at HoneysuckleWhite.com, where you’ll see stories of the family farmers who raised your specific turkey. You’ll also see a message directly from the farmer.

Customer desire for more information led to the development of this blockchain-based solution for turkeys. In 2014, the Honeysuckle White brand found that 44% of turkey consumers think it’s important for companies to be transparent in their practices. Studies in 2016 showed 73% of consumers feel positively about companies that are transparent about where and how their products are made, grown or raised. And more than half of consumers consider farmers one of the most-trusted sources on food-related issues. This year, the Honeysuckle White brand held focus groups that confirmed consumers feel good about buying turkeys raised by family farmers.

It’s important for us to work with suppliers to drive transparency in the supply chain and share information with our customers. Cargill will use the pilot as an opportunity to learn more about the value of traceability in its turkey supply chain. And this test is a great example of an answer to our customer’s needs. Having worked for Walmart for more than 26 years, I still get excited about finding new products and innovations for our customers. Trust and transparency is a huge part of it, and this turkey test is only the beginning.

For more information on these turkeys, the farmers and the blockchain technology, click here.

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Life

12 Days, 12 Ways We’re Helping You Holiday Easier

Eggnog, inflatable Santas, bath bombs, video games – ever feel like the shopping list will never end? No matter how you want to shop – whether in our stores, on our apps or online – we’re here to help. For the next 12 days, we’ll highlight different ways to nail every detail of the holidays so you can rock this Christmas.

Day 6: Save time using grocery delivery

Don’t let a frantic holiday schedule leave you with an empty fridge. When you’re pressed for time or worst of all, can’t make the trip, our delivery service in select cities will bring groceries and more straight to your door. Place an order on Walmart.com and a driver will retrieve your items and escort them to your home. It’s another way we’re helping you shop when and how you want.

So, give it a try - enter your zipcode here to see if this service is available in your area.

Day 5: Shop millions of online items across our brands

We’ve expanded the Walmart family a lot over the last year, which means you have more shopping options than ever at Walmart, Jet.com, Hayneedle, Shoes.com, Moosejaw, Modcloth and Bonobos. Find just the right item for everyone on your list, or check out Jet's Uniquely J line of everyday goods and keep your home stocked for the holiday season.


Day 4: Voice order items on Google Home

“Hey, Google, add baby wipes from Walmart to my cart.”

“Alright, your order history has 500-count Parent's Choice Fragrance-Free Baby Wipes. I can get it from Walmart on Google Express for $8.97. Should I add that to your cart?"

That’s right: shopping just got easier than ever with Google Home's virtual assistant, one of this season’s hottest items. The voice shopping option, coupled free two-day shipping and the Pickup Discount, makes getting what you need at low prices effortless. And just in time for the holidays, when you buy your Google Home or Google Home Mini from Walmart, you can receive up to $25 off when you link your Walmart account to Google Express. Think of it as a little Christmas present to celebrate all your hard work this season.

Day 3: Get groceries quick with your own personal shopper

Our certified personal shoppers are time savers and miracle makers. They have a passion for people, products and exceptional service. Need veggies for dinner tonight? Milk for breakfast tomorrow? With Online Grocery Pickup, our expertly trained associates are standing by in more than 1,100 locations, ready to select the freshest items on your list. Choose from more than 40,000 items and we’ll do the rest. Best of all, we offer same-day service with no price mark-up, no subscription and no fees. Santa's elves will even load your car.

Day 2: Shop millions of items on Walmart.com

We've tripled our assortment on Walmart.com as compared to last holiday season. What does that mean for you? More than 70 million potential gifts for your family and friends alongside the essentials you need every day, from paper towels to hot new electronics and great deals on smart TVs. Best of all, Walmart.com continues to offer free, two-day shipping — no membership required.

Day 1: Use the Walmart app to power through your to-do list

What can you do on the Walmart app this holiday season that’ll save you time and money? Just about anything. Shop for dry groceries, reorder everyday items, refill prescriptions, transfer money, even send last-minute gifts. For quick help, search an item in-store to find the aisle number, or check out featured items to get gift ideas for your family and friends. Even Santa isn’t this good!

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Business

We’re Updating Our Legal Name to Reflect How Customers Want to Shop - Here's Why

Today we announced that we are changing our name from Wal-Mart Stores to Walmart. Why the change? Because of our growing presence as a retailer who serves customers no matter how they choose to shop.

Most of us, and I’d guess all our customers, refer to our company as Walmart and still will. Changing our corporate name from Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., to Walmart Inc. is just a symbol of how customers are shopping us today and how they’ll increasingly shop us in the future. Whether it’s in our stores, on our sites, with our apps, by using their voice or whatever comes next, there is just one Walmart as far as our customers are concerned. When they shop with us, they expect it to be an easy and seamless experience.

Changing our corporate name to Walmart is a way of better reflecting our company’s path to win the future of retail. It’s also a bit about returning to the company’s roots. You might be surprised to learn that, when Sam Walton opened the first store in 1962, the name on the front of the building was simply, “Walmart.” A few years later, we incorporated as Wal-Mart, Inc., and amended the name to Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., when we went public in 1970.

For our associates, while our new legal name removes the dash, we’re not planning to change the Walmart cheer. Getting our blood flowing and choosing not to take ourselves too seriously is still part of our culture. It’s important to have some fun at work, so for our associates in countries where your cheer calls for the squiggly, keep doing it!

We began with great stores and steadily expanded to include clubs and distribution centers. In 1991, we became a global retailer when we opened our first international location in Mexico City, and we launched Walmart.com in 2000. Today we operate under almost 60 different banners around the world, including eCommerce sites, and have more than 11,600 stores and clubs in 28 countries.

Now, we are focused on strengthening stores and clubs around the world to make sure customers continue to have a great experience every time they walk through the door. At the same time, we’re also building our eCommerce and digital capabilities, and we’re putting them together in a way that makes every day easier for busy families. Sam Walton said, “To succeed in this world, you have to change all the time.” He wouldn’t have known that customers in the future would shop on their smart phones or with their voices, but he did know that retail would continue to change. He taught us that, and that for a company to succeed, it has to be agile and innovative.

Even though our corporate name has changed, what won’t change is that Walmart will be there for customers—saving them money and time and helping make every day just a little bit easier.

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