OPERATIONS

Walmart throws weight into home improvement with digital campaign

BY Ken Clark

New York — The world’s largest retailer is taking steps to display its home-improvement prowess through a digital marketing campaign centered on a “Projects Made Simple” area at Walmart.com.

The area is organized by home improvement project. For instance: how to stain a deck, install a water filter system, caulk a window or install a towel bar. In the deck video, an unidentified handy man narrator explains, “All the tools are available at Walmart to get you going.”

The website also lets users download a project sheet with tips and instructions.

Walmart has long dealt in home improvement products, but the latest effort e-blasted to customers with the invitation to “Explore Walmart’s complete solution to make home do-it-yourself projects simple” marks an aggressive change for DIY. The e-blast listed the three key features of the online tool: checklists, instructions and how-to videos.

Home-improvement specialists of all sizes have long felt insulated from competition from the mass retail channel due to specialized training and product knowledge of employees on the sales floor — sophistication that they feel stores such as Walmart cannot match. But even if a more focused campaign from Walmart moves the perception needle even slightly, the results could be dramatic given Walmart’s sheer size.

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STORE SPACES

Walmart cuts outdoor water use with WeatherTrak irrigation controller

BY Marianne Wilson

Petaluma, Calif. — Walmart stores equipped with smart irrigation controllers from HydroPoint Data Systems have reduced outdoor irrigation water use an average of 39% per location since the systems were deployed in 2008, the companies announced.

HydroPoint supplied 631 of its WeatherTrak controllers to select Walmart stores. The systems, which are designed to eliminate landscape water waste, harmful run-off and costly hardscape damage, were added during new store construction and as retrofit projects.

The controllers use an online tool that gives Walmart remote access to the system, and provides water-use data for property managers, landscape contractors and company executives.

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News

Family Dollar selects AccessVia solution for shelf-edge signs and label

BY Marianne Wilson

Seattle — Family Dollar Stores has selected AccessVia Web dSignShop software-as-a-service (SaaS) to print shelf-edge signs and labels in their stores. The solution is designed for retailers who want to outsource implementation, maintenance and support activities. Using data from a central source, Web dSignShop SaaS delivers print and digital promotions to stores for immediate availability and high-speed production via the Internet.

With 7,100 stores in 45 states, Family Dollar not only required a solution they could implement quickly, but also a fast and highly scalable system to handle their sign-printing volume across such a large enterprise.

“This Family Dollar deployment is an exciting validation of the scalability of our cloud-based platform,” says Dean A. Sleeper, CEO at AccessVia. “Plus, for a retailer like Family Dollar whose needs will only grow over time, an enterprise cloud solution allows them unlimited headroom for expansion.”

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