Anyone who has ever found themselves wandering through an overcrowded box store, dodging carts parked like monster trucks in the middle of the aisles, in search of that one elusive item that one harried employee suggested may be in aisle 21 understands that almost primal urge to become a less-civilized version of themselves.
For those who frequent Walgreens with aspirations for that absolutely stunning shade of E.L.F. red vixen lipstick on sale can now rest assured that their shopping journey need not end in a Lord of the Flies disaster-scape. In a recent press release, Walgreens announced they would be partnering with tech firm Theatro, a provider of “software + mobile hardware as a service” solutions.
Floor workers equipped with Theatro tech will be able to communicate easily with each other, contact a manager, confirm an item’s price, and even check inventory levels without having to interrupt their interaction with a customer. Founded in 2012, the Dallas-based business is intent on helping their retail clients solve the problem of a disconnected workforce meet the needs of very-connected customers.
Through a simple voice-enabled interface designed to simplify communication, Theatro’s solutions can help businesses like Walgreens with gathering important data, manage their workforce, completion of tasks, monitor inventory and bolster loss prevention strategies.
“Through our innovative voice intelligent assistant and broad suite of workflow and collaboration apps, Walgreens is empowered to improve store execution and labor productivity by leveraging the power of AI native to our platform,” Theatro CEO Chris Todd said in a statement.
Founded in 2012, the company came from a conversation amongst colleagues and an EVP from retail storage supplier The Container Store. Theatro’s now-CEO Chris Todd, San Francisco native serial entrepreneur Steve Russel, and Texas-based business executive Guy Van Buskirk began to wonder about improving communication amongst retail staff spread across a large store. They met with executive vice president John Thrailkill, who oversaw business development and IT at the Container Store, and began brainstorming high-tech ways to make the in-store experience more streamlined.
“We envisioned a ‘purpose built’ virtual assistant that could help an hourly worker do anything they needed in order to get the job done,” Todd said in an interview. “After working in stealth mode for 2+ years exclusively with the team at The Container Store, we ended up creating a truly disruptive mobile app platform not only for retail, but also for hourly workers in many other market segments such as hospitality, restaurants, manufacturing, gaming and many more.
Theatro can also count Cabela’s – a national chain of hunting, fishing and outdoor recreation outfitters – along with Neiman Marcus, Last Call and Total Wine & More as amongst their growing list of satisfied clients. Walgreens plans to equip their employees with Theatro’s enterprise-wide solutions at all 9,560 of their stores, starting with a rollout to the 1,000 stores in 2019.
“As we transform our stores into modern neighborhood health destinations, it’s critical that we enable our store teams to enhance the experience for customers and patients,” Walgreens’ president of operations Richard Ashworth said. “Technology solutions like Theatro allows us to communicate the changes we’re making directly and regularly with our team members, keeping them up-to-date and able to continue to offer great customer service.