Walmart comes out with a new one application for the phones of the workers in their store that allows them to do a variety of tasks, from digitizing work to helping them locate merchandise and answer customer questions.
It also has a push-to-talk feature that allows them to communicate directly with peers.
As part of the launch, the country’s largest private entrepreneur and retailer says it plans to offer more than 740,000 store workers a new Samsung free smartphone until the end of the year. Drew Holler, senior vice president of people operations, represents nearly half of its total workforce in the United States.
The moves, announced Thursday, come as Walmart and other rivals aim to free store workers from smaller tasks to better serve customers. The new features go beyond Walmart’s previous suite of apps that allowed workers to check inventory and pricing, scan products, and review sales data.
In the coming months, the new app will allow workers to help speed up the time it takes their stockers to get items from the room behind the sales floor. Using an augmented reality feature, workers will be able to highlight pictures when they are ready, instead of scanning each picture individually.
The idea for the app started as a way to manage workers ’schedules and expanded to a single-store app for U.S. workers, the company said. The Bentonville, Arkansas-based retailer said it did an initial test with the new smartphones earlier this year and the response was good.
So far, most Walmart Store Holler said workers had to share portable devices from the company, and only 10% had their own device. But Walmart allowed workers to download the work app directly to personal phones and use it in the workplace.
Walmart says employees will only be able to access the app’s work features while they’re up to date. But employees can also use their smartphone as a personal device if they want. Holler said Walmart will not have access to any personal data.