BUYERS can expect a very different Walmart experience in 2023.
The discounter has already announced a raft of changes coming to stores across the country, and customers say the new delivery service is “widespread to abuse”.
Over the past year, Walmart had already made some changes, including a switch to reusable bags and anti-theft devices due to a rise in retail crime.
Also in November, Walmart unveiled its “Store of the Future” in Ohio. The redesigned concept featured mock bedrooms, digital displays and more.
“Our visual merchandising experts have highlighted exciting brands and created engaging experiences that bring the human element to life,” the retailer said in a statement. “But making the store more appealing isn’t enough in a way that’s unique to Walmart.”
The retailer also plans to add 50 new products to its beauty department for in-store and online shoppers.
Below, The US Sun summarized the key changes customers should expect in the coming months.
1. MORE BEAUTY OPTIONS
It’s great news for beauty lovers around the world: Walmart is expanding its beauty department in-store and online by offering 50 new Olive & June products.
Olive & June is an at-home nail experience offering nail tools, treatments, nail polish, press-ons and other beauty services.
The company will be introduced in over 2,500 Walmart stores nationwide and on the Walmart website.
Founder and CEO Sarah Gibson Tuttle said in a statement, “By bringing our line of premium performance nail products to Walmart, we are one step closer to realizing that dream.”
“We couldn’t be more excited about this new collaboration and connection with the Walmart community,” she continued.
2. TEXT TO SHOP
Shoppers were already hooked in December 2022 when Walmart officially launched the Text to Shop feature.
The service aimed to provide greater convenience for shoppers who prefer pickup and delivery options.
Essentially, the text-to-shop feature is tied to your Walmart account, where the company keeps track of your items and previously purchased items.
To use the service, just send an SMS with the items you need and they will all be added to your shopping cart.
Then choose from a selection of products including items from your local store and from Walmart.com.
You can also send a “backorder” SMS to review and add your frequently ordered items to your shopping cart.
After checkout, you can also select your pickup or delivery timeslot via text message or through the Walmart app.
3. NEW BAGS POLICY
Last month, Walmart made headlines when it banned single-use plastic or paper bags at the checkout nationwide.
The move follows the retailer’s decision to ban single-use plastic and paper bags in four states on Jan. 1.
This went into effect in Colorado, Vermont, Maine, New Jersey and Canada.
Not all buyers are happy about the changes, since the permanent changeover unfortunately involves an additional charge.
Shoppers must now bring their own bags or buy reusable bags in store for between 77 cents and $3.98, depending on size.
Beyond the price premium, many are curious about the wider implications of going plastic-free.
“It’s great for the environment, don’t get me wrong,” wrote one Redditer upon hearing the news. “I think it’s a great idea for them, but what would that mean for Instacart?”
However, some think the pocket policy should have been reinstated long ago.
“It’s a great system,” wrote one Walmart shopper on Reddit. “Buy some reusable bags, use them forever.”
4. AGAINST CRIME
Walmart has been experiencing a spate of in-store thefts for months. For this reason, the chain decided to strictly lock certain items behind glass.
To access items like laundry detergent, hair products, and even ice cream, shoppers have to ask staff for help.
Walmart CEO Doug McMillon said continued shoplifting could cause stores to close and prices to rise.
Other stores like Target and CVS have faced similar predicaments since retail crime spiked early in the pandemic. So buyers should not be surprised if there is an additional obstacle before the purchase.
While locking items prevents theft down the line, some customers are annoyed by the time it often takes for a staff member to get a key before they can purchase something as simple as deodorant.
“I hate it,” one Redditor recently complained. “The other day I went to get baby milk, deodorant and socks. Because I work in construction, I use a lot of deodorant and socks. It took them about 15 minutes for each item as different workers had the keys for each item.”
5. DRONE DELIVERY
It’s also a new world for Walmart shoppers because they might be able to snag grocery drone delivery.
After completing hundreds of drone shipments from Walmart stores, the retailer’s investment in DroneUp grows.
First announced in 2021, the drone delivery is now available in 36 stores in seven states.
Customers can expect to see their items within 30 minutes or less of placing their order.
However, some are concerned that the retailer is opening a Pandora’s box when it comes to security and privacy.
“Looks like abuse on so many levels,” commented one Redditor. “I’m not sure I like the idea of a random company taking low-flying videos of my property because my neighbor is too lazy to go to the store to buy dish soap.”
6. CHARGING OF THE FUTURE
In November 2022, Walmart opened its central “store of the future”. The design has been revamped with showrooms, redesigned digital displays and even an in-store Claire’s outlet.
So far, the Beavercreek, Ohio location outside of Dayton is being coined as a prototype for future Walmart stores.
Walmart has already modernized five stores in Teterboro and North Bergen, New Jersey; Yaphank, New York; Quakertown, Pennsylvania; and Hodgkins, Illinois.
The company says shoppers will benefit from the improved lighting and point-of-sale displays. There is also more space for shopping, which offers far greater convenience.
However, the costs of this new business model were high. Walmart invested $130 million in 28 stores.
As part of the changes, shoppers can now physically assemble Walmart products to visualize how products might look in their homes.
In addition, the new bedroom displays will be equipped with QR codes that customers can scan with their smartphones. This takes them directly to the products on Walmart.com.
In the electronics area there will also be digital displays with further information on some products.
7. POLICY CLOSURES OF BUSINESS
While Walmart is going through a period of rapid change in terms of the in-store shopping experience, many shoppers should expect their local store to disappear entirely.
Because the bargain dealer has announced the closure of around 160 locations in the USA.
In the last six years, the retail giant has closed 269 stores worldwide – 154 of them in the US.
The states hardest hit by the closures in recent years include Texas, North Carolina and Arkansas, according to Rather-Be-Shopping.
Historically high theft rates have led to higher prices and complete store closures in certain areas, McMillon said.
8. ALSO CLOSING SMALL SHOPS
Walmart is also closing several of its pickup and delivery locations in the coming weeks.
A Walmart spokesman said there is not a single reason why certain stores are closing.
The two affected stores are pickup and delivery locations only at 6840 North McCormick Boulevard in Chicago and 3701 SE Dodson Road in Bentonville, Arkansas.
“Because these are just pickup and delivery locations, we’ve made what we’ve learned from each location a part of our operation of picking up and delivering from our surrounding stores, where we look forward to serving our customers,” said Walmart.
As inflation has kept prices at an all-time high, Americans have found it harder to spend their money on additional items, reducing demand even at discount retailers like Walmart.
It’s a bigger trend impacting brick-and-mortar stores, as around 40 percent of the country’s department stores have reportedly closed since 2016.
A Walmart super shopper spotted a shockingly good deal at the retailer — a pair of jeans on the secret sale for just $1.
Plus, see how Americans are reacting to Walmart’s viral Valentine’s Day breakup bears.
https://www.the-sun.com/money/7404656/walmart-store-changes-drone-bag-policy/ Eight store changes Walmart is making in 2023 — and a new delivery service people say is “widespread for abuse.”