Shoppers Tour Walmart’s New Intelligent Retail Lab, IRL [Video]
This isn’t your parents’ Walmart.
As trumpeted by headlines far and wide, Walmart recently unveiled a new state-of-the-art “Intelligent Retail Lab,” or IRL, on New York’s Long Island.
Basically, think Walmart Neighborhood Market + cutting-edge AI capabilities.
A slew of cameras positioned above the sales floor detect low-stock and out-of-stock SKUs, sending a notification to store associates when it’s time to restock.
And the store is teeming with all kinds of bells-and-whistles, including information kiosks and interactive displays, that contribute to an overall unique shopping experience.
But since we’re on the topic of shopping experience…
What exactly does Walmart’s new IRL look like from the shopper’s perspective?
Video Tour: Shoppers Visit Walmart’s IRL
Retail-auditing and insights firm Field Agent recently dispatched eight agents to Walmart’s IRL in Levittown, New York. There, they captured video and photo, and even shared their thoughts about the IRL shopping experience.
The video below offers the sights-and-sounds from the store—all from the shopper’s point-of-view. Then scroll further down for additional insights from these shoppers and their experience with Walmart’s IRL.
Shoppers Speak-Out about Walmart’s IRL
Field Agent posed a series of questions to all eight agents dispatched to Walmart’s IRL. Here are some highlights from the survey portion of the study:
1. What words would you specifically use to describe Walmart’s IRL?
Exactly half of participating agents used the word “innovative” to describe the IRL, while three agents specifically used the word “efficient.”
Words cited by just one agent included “cutting-edge,” “pioneering,” “futuristic,” “interactive,” “engaging,” and “fun.”
2. What did you particularly like about the IRL?
“Likes” mentioned by more than one agent included:
- “Fully-stocked shelves”
- “Clean and neat”
- “Good lighting”
- “The info kiosks around the store”
- “Convenience” (in shopping)
3. How do you feel about the IRL experience?
Agents described how they felt about their IRL experience with a single emoji followed by a brief explanation:
- 😎 - “The new Walmart makes shopping cool!”
- 😁 - “Using the interactive touchscreen technology made me excited to shop!”
- 🤔 - “[The] IRL is confusing and not very streamlined yet.”
- 😳 - “…I was shocked about how well the technology was implemented in the store.”
- 😍 - “I loved the store.”
- 🤔 - “The store and its concept is too new to know how it will perform…”
4. How would you rate Walmart's IRL on a 5-star scale?
Agents assigned the IRL an overall rating of 4.1 on a 5-star scale. Comparatively speaking, participants gave high marks to the lab for organization/layout, ambiance, and stock levels, yet relatively lower marks for customer service.
5. How eager are you to see this technology implemented elsewhere?
Specifically, we asked participating agents, “From your perspective as a shopper, how eager are you to see the technology you witnessed at Walmart's IRL today implemented in other [Walmart and non-Walmart] stores where you shop?”
- “Extremely eager” – 4 agents
- “Very eager” – 2 agents
- “Moderately eager” – 2 agents
- “Not very” or “Not at all eager” – 0 agents
In conclusion, Walmart’s new IRL seems to be turning heads...and not just among retail professionals.
Generally speaking, the “everyday” shoppers in this study were favorable and optimistic toward the IRL, particularly the store, the technology, and the promise of fewer stock-outs.
Walmart's IRL stands as one more powerful indication that the digital revolution has come to retail.
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