University of Arkansas

Walton College

The Sam M. Walton College of Business

McMillon Innovation Studio

Designed to be the first interactive, open-to-the-public university retail lab, the McMillon Innovation Studio is being created to test new technologies and impact the future of retail.

Retail Proving Grounds

A former retail space on the University of Arkansas campus is being transformed into a retail innovation and technology lab through the generosity of Walmart Chief Executive Officer and Sam M. Walton College of Business alumnus Doug McMillon.

The lab will be a flexible facility, allowing testing and experimentation of technologies ranging from asset protection devices, merchandise displays, online ordering services, omni-fulfillment models and other retail-related processes. Students and faculty will have the opportunity to plan, execute and analyze various retail designs and services to better understand how technology is changing the retail landscape.

Initial projects in the lab will be related to lighting, music or store aesthetics; experiments with supply chain processes including drones and scooters for delivery of online orders; and demonstrations of new technology such as holograms and augmented reality.

The central goal of the accessible lab, which will be open to all U of A students to experience, is to educate, entertain, evaluate and create retailing for the future.

From the Dean

"We are grateful for Doug's engagement in enhancing our retail programs and are excited by the creation of the McMillon Family Retail Innovation and Technology Lab. This space will inspire students throughout the university to bring innovative, creative ideas and discover new ways to think about retail.

This will help to highlight an education that involves innovation and a customer focused mindset that is both global and digital, and allow us to provide education and conduct research on the integration of physical and digital shopping, including major business functions such as operation, logistics, buying, merchandising, etc."

- Matthew A. Waller, Walton College dean

Founding Purpose

Doug McMillon"Customers want a shopping experience that blends seamlessly into their lives, and that requires a constant focus on new technologies and services. We hope this lab will spark great ideas, create a community around retail innovation and demonstrate the incredible possibilities of a career in the industry."

-Doug McMillon

Research and Development

The studio works with corporate partners, students and faculty to conduct research on various projects. Below is a highlight of a current project with Starship Technologies focusing on a ground delivery system. Take a look and see what our students are testing!