As competition makes it challenging for retailers to retain customers, Walmart has created a new position of chief customer officer, which will be responsible for its in-store and eCommerce offerings. Former American Express executive Janey Whiteside will fill the role, which is geared toward bringing in shoppers and providing them with better customer service, Reuters reported.
Whiteside “will play a critical role looking after our brand and thinking through the customer journey – from acquiring new customers to [improving] their shopping experience and resolving any issues they may have,” according to a memo from Walmart. Prior to her new role, Whiteside worked for American Express for two decades in fields such as customer engagement and relationship management.
In addition, Barbara Messing will take the helm as Walmart’s chief marketing officer in August, taking the place of Tony Rogers, who has moved to Walmart’s Sam’s Club. While Whiteside will be based in Jet’s home state of New Jersey, Messing will work out of Walmart’s hometown of Bentonville, Arkansas.
The news comes as The Wall Street Journal reported that retailers, including Walmart and Target, want to automate some operational functions, with the goal of giving staff more time to personally attend to consumers. Walmart’s efforts include bringing robots onto the premises to scan inventory, determining what is out of stock and helping consumers find what they need. Those robot deployments are slated to happen next year.
In an effort to get products onto shelves faster, Walmart will add conveyor belts to stores’ back rooms to bring items in quickly from trucks. The automation can help to reduce the number of workers assigned to the unloading process by about half, freeing up more labor costs to allocate to other tasks, the firm said. For Target, it’s a matter of bringing automatic cash-counting machines into the fold, which are slated to debut at roughly 2,000 stores over the next few months.