Walmart provides smartphones for 740,000 employees


Walmart is rolling out a new staff app to simplify certain daily tasks and to improve service. All 740,000 store employees will receive a new Samsung smartphone for free before the end of the year.


Time clock

During working hours, employees will only have access to the app's work functions. Outside of these hours however, they can make use of the new smartphone for private use. The American supermarket chain says it guarantees privacy and will not have access to any personal data.


Me@Walmart was developed in-house and uses modern technologies such as machine learning, augmented reality and artificial intelligence. It is an all-in-one app with a wide range of functions: for example, employees can view their schedule for the next two weeks and request changes if desired. The app also functions as a mobile time clock, allowing employees to clock in and out smoothly.


Working faster and more efficiently

The 'push to talk' function allows staff to contact one other directly, so they can continue to work as a team and quickly respond to the customers' needs. In addition, the app contains a voice-activated personal assistant ('Ask Sam'), which provides quick answers to employees' questions.


In the coming months, Walmart plans to add another function to the app, which will help warehouse employees get goods onto the floor faster. Instead of scanning each box individually, they can then simply mark the boxes that are ready using augmented reality. Tests have shown that this system takes only a third of the time compared to the manual process.


Walmart is not the first retailer to provide its employees with a smartphone: last year, Belgian Colruyt did the same. The company wanted to improve (internal) communication and work more efficiently by using these devices.