Inside Walmart's next-gen tech incubator

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What does the future of retail look like? Lori Flees asks herself that question every day. As Walmart’s senior vice president of next generation retail and principal of Store No 8, she’s responsible for making sure Walmart explores upcoming retail technologies to serve customers better.

On this week’s episode of Retail Gets Real, Flees chats with the co-hosts about the strategy behind Walmart’s next-generation business incubator, Store No 8, and how the company invests in new technology.  

Unlike the name suggests, Store No 8 is not a store — it’s Walmart’s incubation arm that continually tests and perfects the latest retail technology. “If you don’t figure out how those technologies impact your business, and shape them,” Flees says, “you’ll find that you’re behind and have to invest a lot more when the technologies come to bear.”

"If you don’t fail at all, it means you’re not pushing the envelope."

Lori Flees

The team tests technology that could be scalable in the next five to 10 years, making sure that Walmart is investing in the right places. And if the tests turn out to be a flop? “The only thing that fails is when you don’t learn from it,” Flees says.

Whether it’s using VR and AR for associate training, automating the supply chain or using robotics in-store, Walmart and Jet.com continually work to save customers time and money.

Listen to this episode to learn more about the strategy behind Walmart’s Jet.com acquisition. To learn more about Walmart’s leadership and see other highlights from NRF 2018: Retail’s Big Show, check out the official recap page.

Sarah Rand is a co-host on NRF’s Retail Gets Real podcast. Meet all the co-hosts and learn more about the show.