Retail

The Walmart Greeter Returns

The Walmart greeter officially said goodbye in 2012 — but now they're back.

According to reports, Walmart will be bringing the greeters back to most of its 5,000 or so U.S. stores over the course of the next year in an attempt to remind customers that Walmart is a friendly place that says "hello" to you on the way in, as well as a secure place that makes sure you aren't trying to smuggle a 72-inch plasma with you on the way out.

The Walmart greeter was an innovation original to Walmart founder Sam Walmart, but the position was cut four years ago as a cost-saving mechanism and repurposed to store management and customer service functions.

But in stores without greeters, theft has gone up some — and in the last year alone Walmart has had $300 million worth of stock disappear without a payment off its shelves. Walmart is hoping that reinstalling greeters will alleviate some of that outward flow.

“Providing customers with an excellent first impression is part of Walmart’s broader strategy to ensure simpler, more convenient shopping,” Walmart said in a blog post Wednesday. “Focusing more on our greeters is one of a whole host of details we’re looking at — it just happens to be a very visible one.”

The push to better pay and train store associates, and to have them return to greeting customers and offering help reflects a push to bump up Walmart's customer experience numbers. Those figures, when last measured, were the best they've been in some years — with over 60 percent of consumers noting satisfaction with the in-store experience. However, Walmart continues to trail rival Target on all measures of customer experience and satisfaction.

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