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Walmart Canada to invest $3.5 billion

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MISSISSAUGA, Ontario — Walmart Canada is prepared to invest $3.5 billion over five years to generate growth, the company said on Monday.

The spending is targeted at making the online and in-store shopping experience simpler, faster and more convenient for Walmart’s customers, according to the company.

” We are doubling down on our focus on the customer experience – not just to keep up but to lead and to be the very best in Canada,” said Horacio Barbeito, president and chief executive officer, Walmart Canada.

Investments include the addition of two new distribution centers, renovations at more than 150 stores, self-checkout options, electronic shelf-scanners and technologies including robotics and computer vision cameras that “simplify, minimize touches and maximize efficiency and accuracy,” the company said in a statement.

The investments will help Walmart Canada forge partnerships with Canadian technology companies” and help the retailer reinvent and modernize its stores.

One target is a new checkout experience to reduce touchpoints. Features include tap-to-pay, new bigger self-checkout alternatives and a “Check out with me” mobile payment option that allows store employees to check out customers from anywhere in the store. The company said it expects to add thousands of new “omni associate” jobs nationwide.

Also on tap is the addition of “Walmart Pickup” areas at approximately 270 stores – or 70% of locations – by the end of 2020.

Money will also be allocated to pilot what’s being called “hybrid locations“ — Supercenters with micro-fulfilment centers in their back rooms to increase the speed of fulfilment for pickup and delivery.

“We need to do everything we can to delight our customer every single time they choose to shop with us, whether it’s online or in the store. We’re challenging ourselves to be better and be relentlessly focused on excellent omni customer service and experience,” said Sam Wankowski, chief operations officer, Walmart Canada. “This means better stores, quicker service and doing what Walmart does best – focusing on customers, always at Walmart’s everyday low prices.”

Investments in leading-edge technologies will enable Walmart Canada to ramp up the capacity of its distribution center system, the company said. Projects include:

  • New next-generation warehouse management systems which are omni capable in meeting the future needs of both physical stores and e-commerce.
  • Investing in telematics and “internet of things” sensors across over 2,200 trailers to give real-time information around the quality and freshness of its deliveries.
  • Launching world-leading artificial intelligence software to more accurately predict and better plan volume to ensure Walmart’s customers get what they want, when they want it.
  • Scaling the blockchain transportation payments platform.
  • Using new machine-learning software to support improved training and safety on the front lines of distribution center and fleet operations.

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