NEW YORK / AP
Those smiley door greeters are back at Wal-Mart.
The US’ largest retailer said in a blog post this week that it’s bringing back door greeters to a majority of its 5,000 stores by mid-summer to improve customer service. For stores which have been selected as higher risks for thefts, Wal-Mart will position a “customer host,” who will not only greet customers but also check receipts to prevent theft. That was flagged as a growing problem last year. Those workers will be trained to help deter potential shoplifters.
The rollout follows a successful pilot program.
Four years ago, the discounter decided to remove the workers at the front of the store and relocated them to other areas.
Greeters were a tradition that its late founder Sam Walton started.
The move comes as the Bentonville, Arkansas-based retailer is working to improve sales and service amid fierce competition from outlets ranging from dollar stores to online leader Amazon.com. The company has seen gains for a key revenue measure for six straight quarters at its Wal-Mart US division, but the increases have been mostly small.
“Providing customers with an excellent first impression is part of Wal-Mart’s broader strategy to ensure simpler, more convenient shopping,” wrote Mark Ibbotson, executive vice president of central operations for Wal-Mart’s U.S. division on the blog. “Focusing more on our greeters is one of a whole host of details we’re looking at — it just happens to be a very visible one.”