Walmart is Re-Vamping its Digital Experience with ‘Project Glass’

Power Retail By Power Retail | 12 Mar 2021

Walmart is converting a North Dallas store into a fulfilment centre to fuel its e-commerce expansion plans, as part of ‘Project Glass’. Here are its plans for digital growth.

The US-based retailer will convert the Dallas store to an FC to speed up online deliveries and pickup orders.

Grocery orders and merchandise will be filled from the new FC, and will no longer be available for standard in-store shopping, the retailer explained.

The 200 employees currently serving the store will be transferred to the Walmart Supercentres.

This isn’t the first time the retailer has converted a store for e-commerce operations and has plans to expand its online offering by converting more stores in the future.

In 2017, Walmart opened its headquarters in Arkansas that is dedicated to delivering e-commerce orders. In 2018, Walmart converted scores of its stores to accelerate online order capacity and speed.

In January, Walmart announced it would be using its store spaces differently to keep up with the increased online popularity. As such, the retailer said it would be converting sections of dozens of its stores for online operations.

“When you hear us say delivery, define that as the combination of delivery from our stores, clubs, and e-commerce fulfilment centres,” said Doug McMillon, the CEO of Walmart, in February.

Walmart is planning to expand its online offering | via Walmart Corporate

This is a part of its 2020 digital strategy, dubbed ‘Project Glass’, which has the goal of fixing its current clunky and unreliable e-commerce platform.

According to a leaked report from Insider, Project Glass – which was launched in March 2020 – is a “critical step forward in creating a simple, easy-to-use app and website that will give customers the ability to search, shop, and check out with any item no matter where it lives in the Walmart ecosystem,” said a spokesperson to Insider.

It includes the launch of its loyalty program, Walmart+. The program costs USD100 a year and includes unlimited free delivery, Scan & Go touch-free payments and discounts on petrol.

It’s a direct rival product for Amazon Prime, which is USD120 a year and currently serves more than 142 million American members.

Walmart+ debuted in September 2020 and currently has more than eight million members. It’s predicted that the retailer will reach 10 million by the end of the year.

Another facet of the Project Glass transformation is the unification of its grocery and general merchandise retailer app. This allows customers to search and purchase products from a single platform.

Walmart’s vision aims to “[drive] superior customer outcomes” by building a relationship with customers that ‘creates a flywheel effect’, the retailer shared in the documents. This then makes the retailer “a habit, first choice for any need”.

According to Walmart, the retailer is beating Amazon on shopping trips for ‘immediate needs’ by over 20 percent. But there’s much room for improvement, the retailer explained.

“We fail our customers every day,” the document read. Some of the problems outlined in the document include an e-commerce platform that has lots of friction, poor customer frequency, and failing to fulfil a ‘large portion of customer missions, even though [they] can’.

In February, Walmart reported a 7.3 percent increase in revenue YoY in Q4 FY20 and a 69 percent increase in online sales in the US alone.

The retailer is now investing USD14 billion to further expand its technology and automation, fuelling the speed and reliability of its online offering.

Walmart currently serves 9.5 percent of retail sales in the US for 2020, which has increased from its 8.9 percent market share in 2019.

The conversion of stores into FCs is another step towards completing Project Glass, which is currently in its final stages of completion, Insider reported.

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