Walmart gives associates free phones and a mobile work app – RetailWire

Jun 07, 2021

Walmart will give more than 740,000 of its associates free Samsung smartphones this year to support the launch of a work app that is described as “a single source for improved employee engagement and customer care.”

Walmart gives associates free phones and a mobile work app
Photo: Walmart

The Me@Walmart app, built in-house in collaboration with Samsung, employs a mix of machine learning, augmented reality, camera vision and artificial intelligence technologies. The app ”replaces several disparate systems that associates previously used throughout their work life.”

Features include:

  • Scheduling: Associates can view their shifts up to two weeks in advance, check on their upcoming paid time off and request changes to their schedule.
  • Mobile Clock In: Using geofencing technology, associates can clock in with a tap of a button once they arrive at their store. 
  • Push-to-Talk: Pushing to talk enables associates to connect with one another, “helping them work as a team to stay nimble and react to customers’ needs.” Some employees will still carry walkie talkies.
  • Ask Sam: Likened to an AI-enabled virtual assistant, the feature lets associates ask the app questions, scan items to find out where the items are and how many are in stock, and order an item for a customer online. The feature was previously available to some associates as a separate app.

“In just one week, we had more than 3 million questions for Ask Sam,” Kellie Romack, Walmart’s VP for associate experience and customer care, said in a Samsung release. “About 98 percent of those questions are answered successfully, and we’re continually adding new questions and incorporating other feedback from associates.”

In coming months, stocking associates will be able to use an augmented reality feature on the app to highlight the boxes ready to head to the selling floor instead of scanning each box individually. Testing has shown scans take a third of the time versus the previous manual process.

The Samsung Galaxy XCover Pro smartphone, which includes accidental damage coverage (for work and personal use), is customized to create separate work and personal profiles. Walmart will not have access to personal data.

Walmart said in its blog entry, “We believe it’s the first of its kind in the retail industry.”

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: Does the Me@Walmart app appear to be a breakthrough for associate devices? Which aspects or features should prove particularly beneficial for associates and the customer experience?

Braintrust

« This is a move which is long overdue. If we are going to refer to staff as associates rather than employees, we need to provide them the tools, including the latest technology »

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Walmart gives associates free phones and a mobile work app – RetailWire
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