Walmart continues to experiment with its Walmart on Campus stores, following up locations at the University of Arkansas and Arizona State University with a new location on the campus of the Georgia Institute of Technology. The store in "Technology Square" tries out a few new ideas aimed at students and local residents alike.
The store includes a full pharmacy, with staff that can help customers with their prescription questions, serves most insurance plans and features Walmart's $4 generic prescription program.
"With our smaller format and being located right on campus, our store is perfect for those who need to pick up a prescription or something for a quick meal," store manager Stacy Khorana said in a prepared statement. "Our customers will be able to find what they need quickly and easily and then head back to class."
At just 2,500 square feet, the Walmart spinoff fits into a retail space recently vacated by a restaurant, allowing for more easy access to products for students, faculty and residents in the surrounding neighborhood. It can also run on a staff of 10 associates.
"Walmart pharmacy was a good connection with Georgia Tech—the CEO of Walmart had been on campus speaking in 2010," said Rich Steele, the university's senior director of auxiliary services. "In 2011, we started conversations with Walmart about the idea of placing their new concept somewhere at Tech."
The retail giant has also been trying out new ideas in e-commerce, testing the use of lockers to fill online orders in Washington, D.C. The initiative attempts to bridge the gap between digital and physical stores by installing lockers in existing stores where customers can pick up online orders.
"While the test is still in the early stages, the initial read on customer satisfaction and acceptance is very encouraging, with 90 percent of the customers who have used the service providing positive feedback," said Walmart CEO Bill Simon.
The D.C. test sends a mixed message, since Walmart has threatened to pull out of the city if a special minimum wage intended just for big-box retailers is signed into law. That apparently hasn't stopped the retail giant from using the local stores to test the service.
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