Walmart China introduces compact format
Walmart China has deepened its omni-channel retail model with the opening of its first small-format Walmart Supermarket.
In Shenzhen’s Bao’an district, the store delivers an integrated online/offline experience, with an emphasis on fresh foods, fast delivery and convenience.
“Retail and lifestyle are closely linked,” says Walmart China hypermarket senior VP/COO Elliot Dickson.
“Walmart is proud to have been a part of the evolution of shopping in China since we opened the first Walmart Hypermarket here in Shenzhen in 1996. We are introducing our Walmart Supermarket to give customers an upgraded omni-channel experience rooted in their own community.”
The 1200sqm store stocks more than 8000 items, with a localised assortment strategy that includes fresh products, prepared meals, dairy products, beverages and household supplies. The layout also seeks to enhance shopper convenience with chilled vegetables, fresh fruit and frozen foods given prominence, alongside pre-prepared dishes such as fish with preserved vegetables and stir-fried clams.
Ninety per cent of the supermarket’s inventory, including fresh, frozen, deli and bakery goods, are also available on the Walmart Supermarket at JD.com. The store has a high-tech stocking system so associates can precisely find products on the shelf and fulfil orders by the fastest product-picking route. This enables the store to provide delivery as fast as 29 minutes to homes within 2km of the store.
Walmart Supermarket’s soft opening day set a record for stores on the JD.com platform, with more than 1000 online orders. The fastest delivery on opening day was less than 10 minutes from online order to the customer’s door.
Using the scale and merchandising resources of more than 400 Walmart stores across China, the store introduces electronic price tags to help keep prices up to date.
Services for customers include online options to buy e-gift cards, schedule home-appliance maintenance, arrange flower deliveries, and make travel reservations. In-store services ranging from laundry to key cutting, shoe repair and Shenzhen Tong card top-ups.
Customers can use a WeChat mini-program to scan barcodes as they shop, and pay via their mobile device and verify payment in store to bypass the checkout counter. In a two-month pilot, more than one in five customers chose to pay through Scan & Go, with about 95 per cent of them planning to use the new way of payment again to save time. Overall, more than half of Walmart Supermarket customers chose online ordering, Scan & Go or self-checkout during the pilot period. There are nine checkouts: three Scan & Go payment-verification stations, three self-service checkouts, and three traditional checkouts with cashiers. The store provides high-speed Wi-Fi.