Walmart Launches Redesign Focusing on Human and Digital Elements

Plus, Dollar General’s first Texas pOpshelf location to open in Texas this April.

February 01, 2022

Walmart Clothing Section

BENTONVILLE, Ark.—Walmart is launching a new shopping experience in its incubator store in Springdale, Arkansas, according to a news release. The retailer is calling the experience “Time Well Spent,” and it focuses on making Walmart a destination where customers want to spend their time.

“We’re now aiming to make customers feel wowed and proud when they shop with us,” wrote Alvis Washington, vice president, marketing - store design, innovation and experience, in the release. “We’re using powerful design elements to show off amazing products that wow our customers, and when they see the value, they are proud of their choice and purchase.”

In 2020, Walmart announced a store redesign that focuses on a digitally enabled shopping experience. Last year, it began the first phase of its redesign, which updated its navigation and wayfinding to save customers’ time. Walmart has renovated close to 1,000 stores with the new design.

Time Well Spent, the latest phase of the redesign, amplifies the physical, human and digital design elements in stores to “inspire customers and elevate the experience,” according to Washington. There will be lighting, space enhancements and dynamic displays. Walmart’s visual merchandisers have highlighted certain brands and created engaging experiences to capture the human element. Also, QR codes and digital screens will be on display throughout the store for customer digital exploration.

“We want our store to play a role on a productivity journey, so customers and members save time finding the products they need, so they can spend time on experiences they want,” Washington told Fast Company. “The last phase was about saving time; this next phase is about spending time.”

Popshelf to Open First Texas Location in Dallas

Dollar General plans to expand its pOpshelf brand in Texas this April, with its first location opening in McKinney in a former Pier One store, reports Culture Map - Dallas. The expansion into Texas is a part of the discount retailer’s plan to open 1,000 pOpshelfs by the end of the 2025 fiscal year.

pOpshelf is a boutique concept devoted to consumers outside of Dollar General's core market, with one analyst who visited the store in person calling it the best new concept he’s seen in two decades. In many ways, it’s a first for the entire sector, not just Dollar General. pOpshelf locations are 9,000 square feet and focus on seasonal and home decor, health and beauty, cleaning supplies, party goods and other categories. It combines refreshed merchandise with specials and limited-time offers. All items in the stores are under $5.

With pOpshelf, Dollar General is looking beyond the general fare offered at its traditional outlets. Its goal is to sell trendy brands and products, creating a treasure hunt experience inside the stores. It’s estimated that at least 50% of a pOpshelf’s store sales are likely to come from higher margin categories. Its target demographic is suburban women with annual household income ranging from $50,000 to $125,000.

The company is also testing a store-within-a-store format. It has opened 14 smaller versions of pOpshelf inside DG Markets, a format of Dollar General that is larger and has a wider selection of groceries, and it will add more.

Last year, Dollar General’s competitor Dollar Tree raised its prices from $1 to $1.25 rather than $1 to cover rising costs. The higher price point will give the company “greater flexibility to manage the overall business, especially in a volatile, inflationary environment,” said Dollar Tree President and Chief Executive Officer Michael Witynski.

Discount retailers continue to encroach on c-store territory, and the incursion of dollar stores on the c-store space “represents the greatest immediate threat to the convenience industry,” according to a recent NACS State of the Industry report. Dollar Trees feature a Snack Zone concept in an effort to move additional cold beverages, candy and snacks. Family Dollar—owned by the same company—sells alcohol. Fortunately, many convenience retailers are moving beyond “gas, Cokes and smokes” and embracing a differentiated offer anchored in foodservice.