Walmart Redesigning 200 Stores Into Airport-Inspired Theme to Blend Online and In-Store Shopping 

Walmart is changing up the format of 200 Supercenter stores by the end of the year to create a more seamless "digitally-enabled shopping experience." The stores will be inspired by airport crowd management techniques, and there will be bolder signage and easier contactless checkout. By the end of 2021, the remodeling will expand to 1,000 stores, Chief Customer Officer Janey Whiteside told Business Insider Tuesday.

The redesigns will mostly change up Supercenters, but some smaller Health Centers and Neighborhood Market stores will be redesigned as well. Whiteside said the redesign will give customers an "integrated Walmart experience" that goes with the Walmart mobile app. The retail giant is "really excited about the shopping experience being one in which customers can really toggle between their phones and what they see at the store," Whiteside explained.

Customers will see "clean, colorful" signage in the new-look stores and aisles will have letter and number combinations that match the Walmart app for easier navigation. Some of the largest sections will be broken into more visible sub-sections. The redesign is inspired by the most smoothly-operating airports, with layouts that are easy to navigate with clear signage. "We've created what we think is a pretty sleek design aesthetic that helps spotlight products," Whiteside said.

Executives did not want to lose customers who do not plan to use the app, though. The signage will make shopping more "simple" and "intuitive" for everyone. "It's really important that we don't alienate people who aren't used to shopping on their phone," Whiteside told Business Insider. "We're not going to reorient stores so that if you don't use a phone, you can't find anything."

The coronavirus pandemic inspired changes to the ways customers can pay. There will be self-checkout kiosks where customers can use Walmart Pay. Some stores have already seen the redesign, and it will continue to be rolled out over the next 15 months. "What we hear a lot is the customers are looking for us for inspiration, whether that's in-store, online, or via our mobile app," Whiteside said. "We've tried to think through how we help customers discover and get inspiration online and reflect that in terms of a completely new store look and feel."