Why you might not recognize your Walmart anymore

Apple-inspired roving checkouts, electronics table

If you head to Walmart this holiday season, you may wonder if you accidentally stumbled into the wrong store, as some departments of the giant retailer now look like Apple designed them.

It's all part of some major changes going into Walmart stores right now. We got a sneak peak inside the just-rehabbed store on Cincinnati-Dayton Road in West Chester.

Virtual Reality training

The first change store associates are proud of is a scene of frustrated, unhappy shoppers on Black Friday.

Huh?

It turns out the scene isn't real.  It's Walmart's new Virtual Reality training for employees, where associates put on a VR headset and learn how to prevent holiday disasters.

Carmen Bothast, who runs the program for 30 Walmarts in Southern Ohio say its helps employees make the holiday season a better experience for shoppers.

"Telling someone what to do is not the same as seeing it.  It's like you're there," she said.

Roving Mobile Checkout

Why you won't see the VR training stations, one change shoppers will see is roving checkout teams. Walmart is adding mobile checkout to hundreds of stores this holiday season, so you won't have to wait in those frustrating checkout lines.  

It's a change inspired by Apple stores and Nordstrom.

"They can check out with the associate, who can check out right here on the spot using a credit card or debit card."  said assistant manager Strawbari Callahan.  You will then show your receipt at the door when you leave, she said.

New electronics department

Newly renovated stores are getting electronics departments that may make you think you are in the Apple store, with long white tables for trying out tablets and laptops.  It has also increased its selection of laptops, fitness watches, and headphones.

The toy shop, meantime, has doubled in size, to lure former Toys r Us shoppers, like Amanda Clemons, mom of two young kids,.

"There's a lot to pick from," she said. "We're finding a lot more than we would have in the past."

Walmart also has installed big orange pickup towers in several local stores, as it has come to realize shoppers don't want craziness, and don't want to wait in long lines.

West Chester Store manager Scott Valentine is hoping shoppers notice the positive changes, so the store can put crazy scenes of Black Friday yelling, fighting, and long checkout lines, firmly in the past.

As always, don't waste your money.

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