Walmart plans to provide more than 740,000 of its US store workers with free Samsung Galaxy XCover Pro smartphones, complete with cases and protection plans. The company is also launching a Me@Walmart app to help them streamline their daily tasks.
The free phones currently retail for $499.99 and will come with a pre-installed Me@Walmart app. The eCommerce giant envisions them as primarily work phones, but employees will be able to use them in their downtime, too. While at work, only the app’s work features will be active. The company will not have access to any personal employee data stored on the phones.
The Me@Walmart app will let workers check their schedule up to two weeks in advance, request schedule changes, and check the status of their paid time off. There will be an option to clock in for work and use the smartphone as a walkie-talkie with the app’s push-to-talk feature.
The phones will also feature Samsung’s voice-activated personal assistant Sam. The idea is to help employees locate merchandise and answer customer questions more quickly, significantly improving the company’s customer experience management efforts. The Me@Walmart app will also get a feature aimed at reducing the time that it takes workers to move items from the backroom to the sales floor.
Walmart reports that the scanning feature will reduce the scanning process to a third of what it would take if scans were performed manually. In a Walmart blog post from June 3, 2021, the senior vice president of people operations, Drew Holler, and the vice president of product and associate experience, Kellie Romack, explained the process in detail: “Instead of scanning each box individually, associates just hold up their device and, using augmented reality, highlight the boxes that are ready to go.” Without a doubt, the new phones and app will be a boon to Walmart’s workforce, but their overall impact on productivity remains yet to be seen.