June 3, 2021
By Drew Holler, Senior Vice President, Walmart U.S. People Operations, and Kellie Romack, Vice President, Product and Associate Experience
A great customer experience starts with a great associate experience, and our people will always be a competitive advantage. As we make enhancements for our customers, we’re also rethinking how we can help our associates succeed in their roles today and deliver some of what they’ll need for the future. The right tools can be the difference between fast and frustrating.
Today, we’re excited to unveil Me@Walmart — a new app built in-house by Walmart Global Tech for U.S. store associates that provides an exclusive destination filled with new features to simplify daily tasks, serve our customers and plan for life outside of work. The idea of this app started as a way to manage associates’ schedules and has grown into our single in-store app for U.S. associates, saving them time and helping them be more efficient. We believe it’s the first of its kind in the retail industry.
But it doesn’t stop there — we want to ensure associates have a sleek, new device to use the app, so we’re giving them one. By the end of the year, we plan to offer more than 740,000 associates a new Samsung Galaxy XCover Pro smartphone, case and protection plan to use — free of charge. Associates will only be able to access the app’s work features while they’re on the clock, but they can also use the smartphone as their own personal device if they want, with all the features and privacy they’re used to. Walmart will not have access to any personal data, just like our longstanding BYOD program.
Until now, associates have shared company handheld devices. We did an initial test with the new smartphones earlier this year, and the response was good. We are now expanding the test and will continue to evaluate to make sure we’re providing our associates with the best tools to do their jobs.
The capabilities within the Me@Walmart app are built in-house by our product, technology and design teams and apply best-in-class technology, like machine learning, augmented reality, camera vision and artificial intelligence to tackle complex problems. The result? An intuitive, easy-to-use app that empowers associates to own their day.
Here are a few of the features the Me@Walmart app offers:
- Scheduling: The app lets associates easily view their shifts up to two weeks in advance, check on their upcoming paid time off and request changes to their schedule, if needed.
- Mobile Clock In: Using geofencing technology, associates can clock in with a tap of a button once they arrive at their store. This gives them another convenient option to clock in.
- Push-to-Talk: Constant communication is essential for our business. Walkie talkies were one solution, but not every associate has one. Push to talk enables associates to instantly connect with one another, helping them work as a team to stay nimble and react to customers’ needs.
- Ask Sam: A voice-activated personal assistant for work, the Ask Sam feature saves time by letting associates ask the app questions to quickly locate merchandise and get answers for customers. Associates can even look up the metrics that drive their business. This feature was previously available to some associates as a separate app, but is now available to all through Me@Walmart — another example of how we’re simplifying work.
In the coming months, we’ll add another feature to the Me@Walmart app that helps speed up the time it takes our stocking associates to get items from the backroom to the sales floor. Instead of scanning each box individually, associates just hold up their device and, using augmented reality, highlight the boxes that are ready to go. Product gets on the shelf faster — something we all know is increasingly important. In fact, since piloting it last year, this patent-pending capability takes a third of the time than the previous manual process.
As retail continues to evolve — and quickly — it’s more critical than ever to equip our people with the tools and technology they need for success. Doing so makes work easier and more enjoyable, and it keeps the focus where we need it most — delivering a great in-store, pickup and delivery experience for our customers.