Walmart on Wednesday (Sept. 30) unveiled a new store design intended to evoke walking through a well-signed airport, with the goal of adding a digitally inspired feel to in-person shopping.
"Developed through a customer-centric lens, the design creates an elevated experience that appeals to shoppers through a sleek design aesthetic, a layout that spotlights products and end-to-end digital navigation that guides customers throughout their journeys," Walmart Executive Vice President and Chief Customer Officer Janey Whiteside wrote in a post on the company's blog.
The designers who created Walmart's new look drew ideas from airports, Whiteside wrote: "We were inspired by airport wayfinding systems as best-in-class examples of how to direct large groups of people. We developed simple yet thoughtful designs to replicate these navigation efficiencies, which will help us move customers through the store more quickly."
Customers should expect new sign typefaces and more detailed aisle markings.
"We also optimized product layout, bringing greater visibility to key items throughout the store, including dedicated in-store sections for electronics, toys, baby products and more," Whiteside wrote.
Once customers have found products, they'll have the option to pay for them in ways that are new for Walmart, according to the announcement.
"Stores will include self-checkout kiosks as well as contactless payment solutions, including Walmart Pay, to limit contact between associates and customers,” the blog post notes. “Select locations will also have Scan & Go to help customers manage their checkout directly."
"We’ve tested the new concept in select stores and are excited by the initial feedback from customers and associates," Whiteside wrote in Wednesday’s announcement. "We’ll be rolling it out to more stores this fall and will continue to get customer and associate feedback and evolve the design accordingly. By the end of this fiscal year, the experience will be in nearly 200 Supercenters as well as in select Health Centers and Neighborhood Markets, reaching close to 1,000 stores by next fiscal year." Walmart's fiscal year begins Feb. 1.
On Sept. 21, Walmart unveiled what it called “a fashion essentials-inspired brand for both men and women created by our in-house design team." The new brand is called "Free Assembly."