Walmart hasn’t stood back or relaxed when it comes to technological innovation.
While August is traditionally a time to slow down and recharge your batteries, Walmart is actively accelerating its technology efforts across the enterprise. While I spent part of the month vacationing on a beach in New Hampshire, Walmart was going 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 give suppliers improved on-demand visibility into merchandising resources. The Volt app provides real-time store-level data, actionable analytics and shelf information for suppliers to use in planning, forecasting and optimizing product assortment.
As a result, Volt intends for end customers to experience a more seamless omnichannel shopping experience with reduced out-of-stock friction.
“The deal confirms Walmart’s continued investment in technology and innovation that allows us to better anticipate customer demand,” Walmart said in official statement acquisition announcement.
High-tech consolidation center
Walmart is expanding its automated supply chain facility model to receive, sort and ship freight. In 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 as much 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 have a specialized role in moving products quickly to store shelves. Each has the ability to receive common goods from suppliers in smaller truckloads known as less-than-truckload (LTL) and consolidate them into larger truckloads known as full truckloads (TL).
The product is then sent to regional distribution centers where it is sorted for distribution to stores. Suppliers will now be able to ship goods to a single consolidation location instead of sending separate orders to each of the 42 regional distribution centers.
Walmart partners with streaming, BNPL suppliers for Walmart+ benefits
Walmart’s latest promotional partnerships for its Walmart+ paid membership program include a major streaming service and leading buy-now-pay-later (BNPL) platform. From August 15members of the Walmart+ program will get free access to the “basic” 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 said it wants to have 100 million subscribers by 2024. Walmart does not publicly release Walmart+ membership numbers, but Consumer Intelligence Research partners estimated the service has 11 million participants as of July 2022
Walmart is building on Walmart+, originally launched in September 2020, with several different promotions. In another recent example, during the month of August, eligible consumers who spend $300 or more on a single purchase with Affirm’s Buy Now, Pay Later (BNPL) solution at Walmart, in-store or online, will get 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 shipping and discounted gas prices.