Walmart’s Experiment Is Over: Greeters Are Returning For Good

Image courtesy of Ben Schumin

For a while, Walmart tried a bold staffing experiment: they reassigned employees serving as greeters, a position that serves as both a friendly face and a theft deterrent. Instead of standing at the door, former greeters were to help guide customers to the checkouts, or help them find items in the aisles. That experiment began four years ago, and Walmart brought some greeters back about a year ago. Today Walmart announced that greeters will return to their rightful place in all stores.

Greeters aren’t just about making people feel welcome and providing employment for local senior citizens, of course. They’re about protecting the store against theft, checking receipts and watching customers as they leave.

The new position will be called a “customer host,” and will be easy to spot because they will wear a yellow vest instead of a blue one. In addition to deterring shoplifters and making customers feel welcome, their duties will also include “keep[ing] entrances clean and safe.”

Not all stores will have customer hosts, though: they’ll be reserved for only about a third of the mega-chain’s stores. Those will be the stores that deal with more shoplifters. Customer hosts will be — shall we say — younger than greeters, on the whole, and will have special training

Current greeters, Walmart says, will be able to apply to work as greeters in other nearby stores, for the customer host job, or for a different job in the store where they already work.

Offering Customers More at the Door [Walmart]
Wal-Mart Brings Back Greeters to Entrance After Successful Test [Bloomberg]