Since launching Store No. 8, Walmart’s technology incubator, three years ago, Scott Eckert, SVP of Next Generation Retail and principal of Store No. 8, says one of the company’s primary goals has been to launch new capabilities that can grow and be fueled by the Walmart engine, eventually shaping how to serve customers in the future.
“They may not scale to everyone today but rather lay the foundation for capabilities that we believe will have a big impact on how customers shop tomorrow,” Eckert said.
A recent example of this is InHome, which has grown as a stealth company from infancy to a pilot program that can truly change the way customers shop, by not only picking and delivering groceries but taking them all the way to their refrigerators.
Now, Jet black, the first portfolio company to launch from Store No. 8, follows InHome as the latest to graduate from incubation to join Walmart’s customer organization.
“We’ve learned a lot through Jet black, including how customers respond to the ability of ordering by text as well as the type of items they purchase through texting,” Eckert said. “We’re eager to apply these learnings from Jet black and leverage its core capabilities within Walmart.”
Eckert said when Jet black was launched, part of the initiative was to start testing and building technology with the intent that it could be used in other ways, including applying it to other parts of business. Over the past few years, the team has explored a number of areas in conversational commerce, from Jet black’s text-based ordering to voice ordering in pickup and delivery, all with the belief that this technology will be an important way Walmart serves customers in the future.
“We are only beginning to explore how the capabilities being developed within Store No. 8 can complement one another and be leveraged to enhance the customer experience. We look forward to sharing more updates from the team as we work together to shape the future of retail at Walmart,” Eckert said.