5 Big Changes Walmart Is Making This Fall and How They'll Affect You
The retailer is working its way through updates, from new shopping carts to expanded delivery.
Walmart is no stranger to innovation. With more than 60 years of business under its belt, this big-box retailer has had to keep evolving in order to keep shoppers happening—especially amid the so-called retail apocalypse. In fact, Walmart is already working its way through several adjustments for the coming months, from new shopping carts to expanded delivery. Read on to discover five Walmart changes being made this fall, and how they'll affect you.
Walmart is rolling out new shopping carts.
Customers at a Walmart store in Mayfield, Kentucky, were recently shocked to discover brand new shopping carts. The retailer posted about the upgrade on the location's official Facebook page, noting how they differ from the company's older carts.
"Check out our NEW shopping carts," the post reads. "They are equipped with a phone holder cup holder and are slightly taller for a more comfortable shopping experience. Come take a test drive today."
While the Walmart Mayfield post indicated that these carts were only found at their location, it appears the upgraded version is being brought to more stores. Walmart spokesperson Kelsey Bohl told Insider that the new design is meant to enhance the shopping experience for customers, and has been rolling out at stores across the U.S. for the past two years.
The updated design has its fair share of critics.
You might see these new shopping carts at your local Walmart this fall—but you may not like them. So far, shoppers are divided on the updated design.
"All of the features are cool! But the carts are too tall for short people like me," one person commented on the Mayfield Walmart's Facebook post.
Another wrote, "The seat area is so small that there's no room for my regulars—purse, bread, eggs, or other things that don't need to be in the big basket. Went from bad to worse!"
Others pointed out that the new carts are particularly problematic for two specific groups: elderly shoppers and those with children.
"Seniors are complaining the handle is too high. It's hurting their shoulders," one person responded on the post.
Another noted, "Love them but hate them LOL. I can barely pick my 3 year old up as is. But trying to put him in this buggy the other day was hard."
Walmart is introducing a new Testing and Treatment program.
Another change is hitting some Walmart stores in the pharmacy section. In an Aug. 29 press release, the retailer announced that it would be piloting a new Testing and Treatment program. This initiative will allow Walmart pharmacists to test customers for things like strep throat, the flu, and COVID, and then treat them "all in one place," according to the release.
"Patients who wish to take advantage of the program have options," Walmart explained it its release. "They can simply walk-in to a participating pharmacy and engage with a pharmacist, or they can use Walmart's mobile app to make an appointment and head in when it's time."
There are some important caveats.
The Testing and Treatment initiative is currently only available at Walmart pharmacies in 12 states: Arkansas, Colorado, Florida, Idaho, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota, South Dakota, Tennessee, and Washington.
And be aware that even at a confirmed Testing and Treatment location, you may not be eligible to participate in the program for other reasons.
"People who are pregnant or breastfeeding are unable to receive Test & Treat services for flu and strep at their local Walmart pharmacy," the retailer states in its FAQ section. "Other restrictions may also apply. If you think you are having a medical emergency, contact your doctor or call 911 immediately."
Walmart also warns customers that it is "currently not accepting insurance" at its Testing and Treatment locations. But the service may be covered by your HSA, FSA, or HRA, and the retailer is planning to accept third-party coverage in the future.
Walmart is launching new eco-friendly products.
If you're looking for ways to be more sustainable, Walmart is introducing new options for you this fall. In a Sept. 14 press release, the retailer announced the launch of new eco-friendly products from its private brand. You'll be able to purchase Great Value Compostable Cutlery, which Walmart describes as its "100 percent commercially compostable private brand cutlery, made in the U.S," according to the release.
"Walmart's Great Value Compostable Cutlery is made from commercially compostable raw materials thereby offering the same great quality to customers at a competitive price—all while offering an opportunity to reduce the amount of waste generated by single-use plastic items," Scott Morris, Walmart's senior Vice President of food and consumables and private brand manufacturing, said in a statement. "It is also highly durable as it is made with elasticity that allows it to bend when pressure is applied. And critically important, unlike plastic cutlery, these items can disintegrate in commercial facilities over 26 weeks, making it the better choice for the environment."
They're currently available at 1,400 locations nationwide.
The initial launch is quite widespread—but it doesn't reach every location in the U.S. Walmart is now offering Great Value Compostable Cutlery at 1,400 stores nationwide and online, according to the release.
"We hope to expand the product to additional stores in the coming future," Jennifer R. Jackson, Walmart's senior Vice President of merchandising and household essentials, explained in a statement.
The available assortment currently comes in 24- and 48-count packs of commercially compostable forks, knives, spoons, and assorted cutlery, according to Jackson. And as Morris noted, these products are priced competitively: The 24-count packs are being sold for $1.48, while the 48-count is available for $2.96.
"There's a perception that more sustainable options cost significantly more, which presents a barrier for customers looking to save money on choices that are good for them, as well as the environment," Jackson said. "With Great Value Compostable Cutlery, we now offer a more sustainable alternative at our Every Day Low Prices."
Walmart is offering late-night delivery.
Walmart may have done away with its 24-hour stores since the pandemic, but the retailer is now giving customers a new way to get what they need at the last minute. In a Sept. 12 press release, Walmart announced that it is now offering late-night delivery for shoppers. That means 4,000 stores in the U.S. will deliver until 10 p.m. this fall, according to the release.
"We've all been there. The workday is finally finished, dinner and the dishes are done, when suddenly it hits you: You don't have a gift for tomorrow's party, cookies for the school fundraiser, or, the ultimate nightmare, you've run out of your favorite coffee pods. And the clock won't quit ticking," the retailer stated in its release. "Life doesn't always happen on schedule, and Walmart understands that implicitly."
But you still have to order before the cut-off time.
For this new late-night initiative, Walmart said it is extending Express Delivery until 10 p.m. Express Delivery ensures your order will be delivered anywhere from 30 minutes to 90 minutes after you place it, according to the release. But you still have to submit your order by 9:30 p.m. to be eligible for late-night delivery.
You should also be aware that Express Delivery orders have an extra charge that some shoppers have deemed "crazy expensive." As stated on Walmart's website, "express delivery is available for an additional fee of $10.00 and is not currently waived for any customer."
Even if you're a Walmart+ member, you will be required to pay the additional $10 charge for any Express Delivery orders, including those under the new late-night offering.
Walmart is planning to unveil different types of memberships.
If you're already a Walmart+ member or are considering becoming one, you may want to pay attention to other potential options this fall. During the Goldman Sachs 30th Annual Global Retailing Conference on Sept. 12, Walmart Inc. CEO Doug McMillon announced that the company is planning to bring more exclusive programs to help build loyalty among both of its retail brands.
"We want to have more members and we want that because we don't want them to think about delivery charges, we just want them to shop with us, and we want to use the data to try and serve them better. So personalization can improve," McMillon explained. "And they're going to be different types of memberships, not only at Walmart but at Sam's Club, and other places."
This decision was based on recent success with two upgraded programs.
McMillon's emphasis on the future with "different types of membership" is likely due to the success of two recently launched Walmart+ programs, The U.S. Sun reported. At the end of this summer, the retailer unveiled Walmart+ Assist and Walmart+ Travel.
As Walmart explained in a press release, Walmart+ Assist offers customers on government assistance 50 percent-off a monthly or annual Walmart+ paid membership plan. All you have to do its verify your eligibility through SheerID. If you're eligible for Assist, you will be able to sign up for Walmart+ membership for just $6.47 per month or $49 per year.
Walmart+ Travel, on the other hand, is an initiative the retailer launched in partnership with Expedia Group, according to a separate release. The two companies collaborated to create WalmartPlusTravel.com, where Walmart+members can go to book getaways and get Walmart Cash in return.
"Walmart+ members will receive 5 percent Walmart Cash on hotels, vacation rentals, car rentals and activities bookings, 2 percent Walmart Cash on all flights, and a blended rate of Walmart Cash on vacation packages," the release noted.
For more retail news delivered straight to your inbox, sign up for our daily newsletter.