Walmart Canada is investing nearly $1 billion this fiscal year to enhance its omnichannel customer experience as part of a multi-year modernization plan, according to a media release.
This investment comprises more than $300 million for store remodels and renovations, including to what Walmart is calling its Canadian “store of the future.” The flagship store is in Mississauga, Ontario, and will include the nation’s first Walmart Health hub.
Part of the investment will expand Walmart’s fulfillment network across Canada to enhance the customers’ e-commerce experience and help stores cater to the “diverse needs” of customers across various demographics, per the release.
This overall investment marks the midpoint in Walmart’s five-year timeframe for its major $3.5 billion investment in store infrastructure and customer experience transformation, first announced in July 2020.
“Walmart Canada has an ambition to be the most trusted retailer for Canadians,” Gonzalo Gebara, president and CEO, Walmart Canada, said in the release. “This is what we’ve worked toward for the last 30 years and it’s why we continue to invest, including nearly $1 billion this year, to build an even more efficient, consistent and reliable omnichannel experience for Canadians.”
Walmart Canada’s Store of the Future
The flagship location, known as the Square One Walmart Supercenter in Mississauga, is the retailer’s largest store by square foot and one of its largest capital investments in a single store, according to the company.
Walmart says improvements to the location are currently underway. Once completed, this supercenter will act as a prototype for omnichannel innovation.
The Square One store’s overhaul includes:
- Revamped category experiences, starting with the electronics department where traditional product displays are being replaced by open displays to encourage hands-on interactions.
- New technology-powered ways to shop. In the reimagined electronics department, for example, shoppers will be able to see product availability in real-time, scan a QR code to place their order and take advantage of immediate on-site delivery by an associate, facilitated by automation.
- A Walmart Health hub that centralizes the pharmacy, vision center and medical clinic into one area. This Health hub is the first of its kind in Canada and Walmart says provides a glimpse into how it plans to “enhance access to affordable, personalized healthcare” in the nation.
- An expanded omnichannel operations area, including a dedicated space for associates to pick, pack and stage customer orders, which should create more availability for pickup and delivery slots for customers.
More Store Modernization Plans
Including the remodeled flagship store, Walmart Canada said it would upgrade and modernize 55 of its more than 400 stores across the country this year to improve the customer experience, including 20 extensive refurbishments. Stores in Rexdale (Erin Mills), Mississauga (Square One) and Newmarket in Ontario; Kirkland and Montreal Nord in Quebec and Kamloops in British Columbia will experience the most significant transformations, per the release.
Walmart says significant updates to 20 stores across the country this year include:
- A more bold, modern look and feel, including clearer navigation, new aisle markers and enhanced customer-facing signage.
- A focus on sustainability, such as transitioning to CO2 refrigerants.
- Updated Fresh departments that include a larger produce area, expanded assortment and overall improved shopping experience.
- Enhanced support for omnichannel experience, including more dedicated space to pack and prepare orders and improved technology.
In August, the retailer also opened a brand new, 140,000-square-foot Supercenter in Montreal’s Marche Central shopping center.
E-Commerce, Fulfillment Network Enhancements
This year’s investment also supports Walmart Canada’s new e-commerce-ready facilities, including the Rocky View County fulfillment center, which opened June 2023 in Alberta. Walmart says this facility is capable of shipping 20 million items annually direct to customers.
Additional initiatives to improve the online shopping experience for customers include Delivery Pass, which offers unlimited free next-day delivery through a subscription program, and a refreshed Walmart Canada mobile app and website.