Why Walmart is giving away 740K+ Samsung phones

'The right tools can be the difference between fast and frustrating'

Why Walmart is giving away 740K+ Samsung phones

As the retail sector adapts to the demands of the digital economy, Walmart is letting employees stay connected with the help of a new workforce management app – and it’s throwing in a free Samsung smartphone to boot. The retailer has developed its own app and is preparing to hand out the Galaxy XCover Pro to over 740,000 associates, who will help to test the proprietary tool on the device.

The employee app, dubbed Me@Walmart and downloaded into the devices, aims to “simplify daily tasks,” assist customers and “plan for life outside of work,” the retailer said. “The idea of this app started as a way to manage associates’ schedules and has grown into our single in-store app for US associates, saving them time and helping them be more efficient.”

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The tool is deemed the first of its kind in the retail industry, as it relies on a combination of emerging tech such as machine learning and augmented reality. The platform includes scheduling, mobile clock-in and push-to-talk features as well as the Ask Sam voice-activated personal assistant. “The Ask Sam feature saves time by letting associates ask the app questions to quickly locate merchandise and get answers for customers,” the company said.

While employees can access the app only while they’re on duty, they are also free to use the device outside of work. “Walmart will not have access to any personal data, just like our longstanding BYOD program,” said Drew Holler, Senior Vice President, Walmart US People Operations, and Kellie Romack, Vice President, Product and Associate Experience.

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“As we make enhancements for our customers, we’re also rethinking how we can help our associates succeed in their roles today and deliver some of what they’ll need for the future. The right tools can be the difference between fast and frustrating,” they said.

The partnership with Samsung also marks the device maker’s largest mobile enterprise deal in the US. “Walmart approached us in the spring of 2020 at a time when their stores were busier than ever, and associates were working hard to ensure a safe shopping experience during the pandemic,” Samsung said.

“Together, we discussed what they call the ‘Connected Associate’ initiative – a vision to empower Walmart associates by putting everything they need in the palm of their hands.”

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