Walmart and Samsung have announced a new deal that will see Walmart associates throughout thousands of stores now carry 740,000 Galaxy XCover Pro smartphones for both work uses and personal use.
In a statement, Samsung said it was the company's "largest mobile enterprise deal in the US" considering that almost half of Walmart's US store population will get a smartphone by the end of the year.
In conjunction with the announcement, Walmart unveiled a new app for their workers called Me@Walmart. In a blog post from Walmart senior vice president Drew Holler and vice president of products Kellie Romack, the company explained that the app will give Walmart workers a "convenient, secure location" for their needs and daily tasks.
The Me@Walmart app will include access to tools for scheduling, scanning inventory, mobile clock ins and more. The app will also allow associates to use Ask Sam, a tool that helps workers search for merchandise in the store and answer questions for customers.
The app will only be functional on the smartphone during work hours, but associates will be able to use the Galaxy XCover Pro like a personal device when they leave work.
Hamshy Raveendran, head of product management at Samsung Electronics Americas, said the device will "put everything associates need at their fingertips to help them better serve their customers."
"We're excited to support Walmart as they lead the retail industry in leveraging mobile to empower their frontline employees," Raveendran said.
The devices will come with a case, protection plan and Samsung Knox, a security platform that Samsung said is "defense-grade." It will also come with a push-to-talk feature.
Walmart and Samsung said that through Samsung Knox, workers can be assured that Walmart will not have any access to the personal data of the associates who use it outside of work.
Holler and Romack explained that associates now carry handheld devices that they share with other workers. But the company did a test of the Samsung smartphones and was encouraged to expand the program.
Through the Me@Walmart app on the devices, Walmart employees can view their next two weeks of shifts, figure out how much paid time off they have, ask for schedule changes and clock in.
The company will be adding to the app in the future, with plans to include a feature that Walmart says will help "speed up the time it takes our stocking associates to get items from the backroom to the sales floor."
"Instead of scanning each box individually, associates just hold up their device and, using augmented reality, highlight the boxes that are ready to go. Product gets on the shelf faster — something we all know is increasingly important. In fact, since piloting it last year, this patent-pending capability takes a third of the time than the previous manual process," Holler and Romack wrote.
"As retail continues to evolve — and quickly — it's more critical than ever to equip our people with the tools and technology they need for success. Doing so makes work easier and more enjoyable, and it keeps the focus where we need it most — delivering a great in-store, pickup and delivery experience for our customers."