Although the new innovation center does not aim to replace Walmart’s internal research lab, it nevertheless aims to be the test bed for emerging technologies which when mature will filter down the company’s other stores nationwide.
Sam’s Club, a unit of Walmart Inc, stated it will open a new store and innovation center in Dallas, Texas. The new store will be a test bed for technologies before they are implemented in other stores nationwide.
The new store will be separate from Walmart Labs, the internal research lab, that focuses on developing new e-commerce applications and technology for the company.
The opening of the new store and Walmart’s focus on research and technology are the latest signs that point to the fact that Walmart is doubling down on making its stores better and probably smarter as it prepares to gain ground against arch rival Amazon.com Inc.
Sam’s Club Now will be a 32,000 square feet store, which is a quarter of the size of an average store operated by the retailer. It will begin testing technology like electronic shelf labels that will automatically update prices and use 700 installed cameras to better manage inventory.
Sam’s Club Now will also allow shoppers to use the Scan and Go feature, a technology that facilitates faster checkouts, on its namesake mobile app.
That will enable customers to use voice search to locate items in the store, pick up their orders in an hour and create shopping lists, which can be automatically updated.
“Sam’s Club Now gives us one more avenue to develop, test and refine technology and features that will create new shopping experiences at scale,” said John Furner, Sam’s Club Chief Executive.