WALMART is undergoing a transformation this year as the retail giant looks to offer greater convenience to customers.
The superstore already implemented a range of new policies and updates, but there are more to come by this spring.
While some of Walmart’s changes have brought positive feedback from customers, such as those who prefer the store’s new text-to-shop option, other policies have some shoppers scratching their heads.
The U.S. Sun has outlined all the changes you should look out for in your neighborhood market this year.
1. NEW HEALTH CENTERS
Going into the rest of the year, Walmart is putting an increased focus on its health centers.
Walmart Health Centers are clinics that provide affordable medical care for those with and without insurance.
While the retailer currently only has 32 health centers, it plans to increase the count to 75 by the end of 2024.
Shoppers would be able to get medical help while on their everyday shopping trips, which then boosts Walmart’s revenues.
Services include dental, medical, psychiatric and behavioral care.
New locations are coming to the following metropolitan areas: Dallas (ten), Houston (eight), Phoenix (six) and Kansas City (four).
But that’s likely just the beginning of Walmart’s expansion into the health arena.
2. BEAUTY OPTIONS ABOUND
Beauty lovers will be happy to find out Walmart is adding 50 new products to the beauty department.
All the products are from Olive & June, an at-home nail company offering nail tools, treatments, polish and other beauty services.
The collection will be available online and in over 2,500 locations.
3. GOODBYE TO PLASTIC BAGS
Walmart has been on a sustainability journey for several years, but the next step is updating its single-use plastic bag policy.
Walmart made the change as more states continue to pass laws banning the plastic bags.
Due to this, more than 100 stores are getting rid of the bags this year alone.
Shoppers in the following states will need to bring their own bags, or use a paper bag – which can cost a small fee in some places:
To implement the new policy, Walmart will be selling its reusable bags near its checkout area for around 74 cents.
4. NEW DESIGN
Walmart’s new store layouts plan to welcome shoppers to the “store of the future.”
Walmart is hoping to improve customer experience by updating stores’ looks and layouts.
Last year in Beavercreek, Ohio, the first store of the future was introduced after an extensive remodeling process.
The store includes bedroom and bathroom displays of Walmart products, similar to what you would see in Ikea.
To make shopping easier, the displays have QR codes customers can scan to learn more about the items.
There are now over 1,000 locations with these updates.
5. UPCOMING CLOSURES
Unfortunately, not all of the changes coming to Walmart stores are positive.
As the retail apocalypse rages on, the chain has been forced to close stores that did not meet financial expectations.
All of the pickup-and-delivery outlets in Arkansas and Illinois shut down on February 17.
Meanwhile, Walmart stores in Plainfield and Homewood, Illinois as well as some in Albuquerque, New Mexico and Milwaukee, Wisconsin shuttered officially on March 10.
There’s more along the way, including the Pinellas Park, Florida location on March 17 and a DC unit on March 31.
6. DRONE DELIVERY
Walmart shoppers at 36 stores are now able to get their purchases delivered by drone in seven states.
The initiative was first announced in 2021, and now customers can get their orders in 30 minutes or less thanks to the new option.
There have already been 6,000 deliveries made through delivery hubs powered by DroneUp, Flytrex and Zipline.
7. FIGHT AGAINST CRIME
Retail theft is at an all-time high, so Walmart has gone to extreme measures to prevent further crime.
Doug McMillon, chief executive officer of Walmart, said persistent shoplifting could cause stores to close and prices to increase.
Due to this, Walmart has stepped its game up, adding locks and anti-theft devices to a range of everyday items.
Shoppers have pushed back against the changes, citing frustrations about how many items now require an employee to unlock them, dramatically increasing shopping time.
One customer tweeted: “I’ve outgrown Walmart. I needed deodorant and a new phone charger both items less than 10 bucks both items locked behind some plastic and yall know their workers are kings and queens of hiding in the back. 10 min trip turn into 30 for what exactly?!”
8. TEXT TO SHOP
While the anti-theft devices are likely to increase your shopping trip’s time, you could avoid it altogether by using Walmart’s text-to-shop feature.
The service was officially launched in December, allowing customers an even easier way to order groceries.
Shoppers can access the feature through the Walmart app and order groceries by texting a list of what they need.
They can also text “reorder” to review and add frequently purchased items.
Everything gets paid for in the app, and then the customer will schedule a pickup time.
Closing sales are going on at several Walmart locations across the country as the retailer plans to close their doors forever.
Plus, see how savvy shoppers have discovered a spring break essential at Walmart for just $3.