Jun 7, 2024 - News

Walmart leans into tech as retail lubricant

A photo of a digital shelf label.

Walmart's new digital shelf labels can be changed electronically in minutes. Photo: Worth Sparkman/Axios

The jargon catchphrase inside Walmart's public-facing corporate culture: remove friction.

The big picture: Company executives talked Thursday about technology as a way to grease sticking points for both Walmart employees and consumers — driving ease of use, efficiency and, ideally, more sales.

Catch up quick: Walmart made a few announcements on the second day of its annual shareholders and associates meetings:

1. Later this month, consumers in the DFW metro area where delivery by drone is available, can shop and schedule deliveries within the Walmart app.

  • Up to now, consumers had to place orders through third parties, creating a cumbersome process for both customer and employee.
  • Other markets making drone deliveries will be phased into the Walmart app in the near future.

By the numbers: Walmart has made more than 30,000 drone deliveries in six states since it started the process in 2021.

2. The company revealed digital shelf labels it plans to install across 2,300 stores by the end of next year.

  • The new labels are tiny screens displaying roughly the same information as paper labels currently, but they can be changed in "almost real time."
  • From a friction-reducing point of view, the digital labels reduce time employees spend replacing them, and they help with stocking and order fulfillment.

What's next: Walmart holds its annual associates global associates meeting at Bud Walton Arena in Fayetteville today.

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