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Wal-Mart amps up in-store customer service — and it pays off in holiday quarter

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Wal-Mart focused on in-store service, which analysts say helped produce solid fourth-quarter earnings.

In-store, customer-focused aids, including helping customers grab last-minute items, helped Wal-Mart Stores Inc. boost holiday sales and beat expectations with quarterly earnings.

Wal-Mart WMT, +3.00%added “holiday helpers” at checkouts on Nov. 4, charged with steering traffic to shorter queues, opening registers when needed and helping customers fill their carts.

“Walmart realized that in order to deliver value—and to help differentiate it from low-cost rivals—it also had to emphasize service,” said Neil Saunders, managing director at GlobalData Retail, in a Tuesday note. “From our own store visits, the greater availability of associates was noticeable, and there was far more activity on the shop floor with demos and entertainment helping to improve conversion rates among shoppers.

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