Walmart is testing a partnership with Puls that brings the tech services company inside stores to repair customers‚Äô phones while they shop.
Without needing an appointment, shoppers who want to use Puls tech services can¬†walk up to dedicated kiosks positioned near the electronics department at participating stores. In addition to making phone repairs for issues such as shattered screens, faulty batteries and water damage, Puls technicians can demonstrate the latest smart home products available at¬†Walmart. They can also conduct in-home visits for smart home setup or services such as TV mounting. The latter places the third-party provider in direct competition with another Walmart partner, Handy, which offers installation and assembly services through a partnership that expanded to some 2,000 stores last year.
Puls was first spotted at a Rogers, AR, store last fall via an in-store kiosk that has recently been updated with new signage.¬†Kiosks are located inside three total stores near the retailer’s Bentonville headquarters as well as¬†additional Walmart locations around Phoenix, according to the puls.com web page for Walmart. Through its mobile application, Puls Tech, the company offers¬†a store locator,¬†scheduling of services, free device diagnostics and remote video support.
Puls claims its point of differentiation is software that quickly matches a customer problem with the skills of the right technician¬†from its network of 2,000 certified experts. Phone repairs and smart home setup start at $69 while TV mounting starts at $109. The company is also currently dangling a Groupon offer for discounted iPhone or iPad repair at Walmart.
For the mass merchant, the partnership is a way to outsource the kind of services rivals like Best Buy (Geek Squad) and Amazon (Home Services)¬†are building out in-house.
‚ÄúWe‚Äôve cracked the code on how to deliver same-day service that‚Äôs seamless to the customer, rewarding for the technician, and scalable as a business,‚Äù Puls chief executive officer Eyal Ronen said in a 2017 statement after the startup closed on $25 million in investor funding. To date, the company has raised a total of $92 million, according to reports. Initially called CellSavers, Puls launched in 2015 with a focus on mobile phones and tablets before expanding its scope to offer broader tech solutions.
Companies like Samsung, Google and Philips¬†have tapped Puls for at-home¬†repairs and tech demonstrations, while¬†Target¬†offered in-home installation and setup via Puls for Target Open House shoppers, though the web page for the¬†service was non-functional as of Feb. 19.