A Walmart Supercenter stocks 120,000 different items on its shelves. But go to the store on a Saturday or Sunday—or arrange a curbside pickup—and you'll learn that some things are missing from store shelves, so you can't buy them. Walmart might still have the items at that location. It has 15,000 boxes of products stored in the back room of any given Walmart. But customers often grab items off the shelves before they can be restocked from the back.
Today, Walmart is taking a big step to fix this issue with a new augmented reality app built for its employees. It allows an employee in the back room to aim a phone at a wall of inventory, and the app will put a green checkmark next to the exact box they're searching for.
Walmart tells us it used to take an employee about two and a half minutes of searching to find the right box in the back room. With the app, it takes one third as much time. Now an employee needs just 42 seconds on average to find that box of mustard or toothbrush heads in the back room.
HOW IT FITS INTO THE EXISTING ECOSYSTEM
This app sits on top of Walmart's existing inventory tracking system. When a Walmart employee spots a missing item on shelves, or when enough of an item is scanned at checkout, software automatically signals employees in the back room with a list of items to grab and restock.