The phones are part of Walmart’s new plan to bring associates onboard its [email protected] app that simplifies daily tasks, helps associates serve customers and plan for life outside of work. The app, which was built in-house, originated from needing a new way to manage schedules for associates. Previously, Walmart associates shared devices in stores.
“We believe it’s the first of its kind in the retail industry,” Drew Holler, senior vice president of Walmart U.S. people operations, and Kellie Romack, vice president of product and associate experience, wrote in a post about the new program.
More than 740,000 associates will be offered a free Samsung Galaxy XCover Pro smartphone, case and protection plan to use and access the app. The phones will be given out by the end of the year. While associates can only access the work functions of the phone while at work, they are free to use the phone for other purposes when off the clock. Walmart stated it won’t have access to personal data, matching its existing bring-your-own-device program.
The [email protected] app includes scheduling capabilities, mobile clock-in, push-to-talk that enables associates to talk to each other directly and quickly, and Ask Sam, a voice-activated personal assistant for work. The Ask Same function was previously available as a separate app, but now the tool, which allows employees to ask questions to locate merchandise and find answers for customers, will be part of the [email protected] package.
In the next few months, Walmart also plans to use the phones to improve the in-store stocking process. Instead of scanning boxes individually to stock them, associates will be able to hold up their device and use augmented reality to highlight boxes that are “ready to go.”
“Product gets on the shelf faster--something we all know is increasingly important,” Holler and Romack wrote. “In fact, since piloting it last year, this patent-pending capability takes a third of the time than the previous manual process.”