Walmart refreshes omnichannel push in anticipation of 210M+ holiday app visits
Walmart is sprucing up its application in anticipation of more than 210 million app visits during November and December by unveiling new shopping list capabilities and a check-in service for picking up online orders.
The retailer is banking on check-in service to drive in-store pickups as it sets a $50 threshold for free shipping. In addition to being able to check in upon arrival at a store to facilitate pickup of an online order, the app will also enable users to scan items in the store to add them to a shopping list.
“Our customers love the option to pick up their online orders in our stores for free, and we’re excited to make that experience faster and easier,” said Jaeme Laczkowski,? director of media relations at Walmart.
“The new mobile check-in feature in our app allows customers to check in using their smart phone when they arrive to pick up their online order,” she said.
“We’ve tested this service at Sam’s Club where it created a faster, better experience.”
Omnichannel ramp up
Walmart, which expects nearly 75 percent of traffic to its Web site to come from a mobile device this holiday season, is investing in digital technologies to bridge the online and in-store experiences.
With a growing number of shoppers ordering online and choosing to pick up in stores, Walmart’s Mobile Check In will enable them to alert the store of their arrival to pick up an online order via their phone.
When app users arrive at a store, they will receive a notification asking them to check in. They can either tap or swipe to do so. Users can then tap the “I’m Ready” button to alert an associate to prepare their order and head over the designated pick up area.
Customers receive a notification when they arrive to pick up online orders
In-store shoppers will also be able to scan items to build a wish list or search for someone else’s list by using the Walmart app. The wish list can also be shared with friends.
“This year we’re investing in making our mobile experience better than ever,” Ms. Laczkowski said. “A seamless experience is important because customers who shop across channels spend more.
“We’re rolling out a new Wish List feature on Nov. 1 that makes it even easier for customers to use their mobile device to shop with us,” she said. “Now customers can use the Walmart app to scan items in store and build a Wish List, or search for someone else’s list. Last year, 1.5 million Wish Lists were created on Walmart.com.”
Downplaying free shipping
The focus on in-store pickup coincides with an announcement by Walmart that orders on WAlmart.com of under $50 will incur shipping charges for delivery. As alternative, customers can have the order sent to a store for free.
The strategy is gamble on Walmart’s part, as free shipping is still consumers’ favorite holiday promotion and adoption of in-store pickup is still small (see story).
If shoppers do choose to pickup orders in-store, this is a significant plus for Walmart, as it saves on shipping charges and has an opportunity to encourage shoppers to make other purchases.
Users can also find items in the app to find out where to them in the store.
The mobile services are part of Walmart’s broader holiday marketing strategy, including eight weeks of savings as it extends its everyday low pricing strategy through the season over a heavy focuses on limited-time deals.
“We’re predicting more than 210 million visits to our mobile app in Nov. and Dec., up from 18 million during the same period in 2013,” Ms. Laczkowski said. “That’s a 1000-percent-plus increase.
“The new mobile check-in feature and Wish List capability in our app make shopping faster, easier and more convenient,” she said.
“We expect nearly 75 percent of our online traffic to come from mobile. Customers are using their devices to shop online and shop our stores. Mobile is the bridge that makes it easy.”
Chantal Tode is senior editor on Mobile Commerce Daily, New York