Walmart hasn’t held back and is taking it easy when it comes to technological innovation.
While August is traditionally a time to slow down and recharge the batteries, Walmart has been actively accelerating its technology efforts across the company. While I spent part of the month relaxing on a beach in New Hampshire, Walmart was moving full speed ahead with technology-related initiatives in its merchandising, supply chain and marketing functions.
Read on for more details:
Acquisition of Volt systems
Walmart invested in its ability to anticipate customer demand by acquiring Volt Systems, a technology company that develops solutions designed to provide suppliers with enhanced on-demand visibility of merchandising resources. The Volt app provides current store-level data, actionable analytics, and shelf intelligence for suppliers to use in planning, forecasting, and product assortment optimization.
As a result, Volt aims for end customers to receive a more seamless omnichannel shopping experience, with reduced friction due to out-of-stocks.
“The agreement affirms Walmart’s continued investment in technology and innovation that allows us to better anticipate customer demand,” Walmart said in a official statement announcing the acquisition.
High-tech consolidation center
Walmart is expanding its automated supply chain facility model to receive, sort and ship goods. During the month of August, the discount giant will open a high-tech consolidation center in Lebanon, Pennsylvania. The new 400,000 sq.ft. The facility’s automated technology is designed to allow three times more volume to flow throughout the center and help Walmart deliver the right product to the right store, so customers can find the products they need, according to the retailer
The new consolidation center in Lebanon will serve all 42 regional distribution centers in the US, with plans to serve fulfillment centers in the near future. The facility will be the second of its kind in Walmart’s supply chain. The first, located in Colton, California, opened in 2019.
Consolidation centers play a specialized role in quickly moving products to the shelves. Each has the ability to receive general merchandise items from suppliers in smaller freight loads, known as less-than-truckload (LTL), and consolidate them into larger freight loads, known as full loads (TL).
The product is then sent to regional distribution centers where it is sorted for distribution to stores. Suppliers will now be able to deliver goods to a single location for consolidation, instead of sending separate orders to each of the 42 regional distribution centers.
Walmart partners with BNPL streaming providers for Walmart+ benefits
Walmart’s latest promotional partnerships for its Walmart+ paid subscription program involve a major streaming service and leading buy-now-pay-later (BNPL) platform. From August 15, mMembers of the Walmart+ program will receive free access to the “Essential” tier of the Paramount+ subscription streaming offering, which normally costs $4.99 per month and includes some paid ads.
Paramount Global has publicly estimated that Paramount+ has a total of 43 million members and has said it wants to have 100 million subscribers by 2024. Walmart does not publicly release Walmart+ membership numbers, but Consumer Intelligence Research partners estimated that the service had 11 million participants in July. 2022.
Walmart has ramped up Walmart+, initially launched in September 2020, with several different promotions. In another current example, during the month of August, eligible consumers who spend $300 or more in a single purchase with the Buy Now Pay Later (BNPL) Affirm solution at Walmart, either in-store or online, will receive a free 90-day Walmart+ membership.
Members of the Walmart+ program, which normally costs $12.95 per month/$98 per year, receive exclusive benefits such as free shipping with no minimum order, free in-store delivery and discounted gas prices.