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Walmart streamlines access to in-store product information via app


Walmart is kicking off its holiday deals with an expansion of its Savings Catcher feature and a new Search My Store tool that prioritizes key information such as in-store availability and location. 

With such a large inventory, the new tool enables personnel and customers to quickly keep track of available items from their mobile phones. By streamlining access to important information that it can take several steps to retailers in other retailers’ apps, Walmart is hoping to answer customer feedback about wanting to be able to shop more self-sufficiently.

“The ability to use the app to search for products inside the store was one of the top requests from our many of app users,” said Ravi Jariwala, direct of public relations at Walmart, San Francisco. “It’s like having your own personal assistant with you.”

Location, location
Walmart wants to get a head start for the holidays and is therefore rolling back prices on more than 20,000 items.

Its digital shelves now include seven million items, which is one million more than last year’s holiday season. Deals typically saved until Black Friday and Cyber Monday have come available today. These items include a Sony TV, the Nintendo 2DS handheld video game system, a Barbie Dream House and a Nextbook tablet.

Holiday turkey and ham are also now available on Walmart’s Savings Catcher.

Same-day pickup in Walmart stores is available while supplies last at no additional cost.

Department store Macy’s recently launched something similar to Walmart’s Search My Store feature that involves Google’s proximity marketing platform that was put in place to tell customers about its inventory and whether or not they have an item in stock.

Coming in November, customers can search for an item and view images, price, size and color, directions to the store and a link to Macy’s Web site.

The Search My Store tool allows customers to save a trip to their nearby store and check inventory online or via the Walmart app. Also, customers no longer have to take the time to ask a store clerk to look up an item.

Walmart’s Search My Store is available now on the Android app and will be coming later in November on iOS devices.

Depending on mobile
Walmart’s intention to step up investment in digital and ecommerce initiatives is likely to include a heavy dose of mobile as the retailer builds on recent successes such as Savings Catcher and looks for new ways to transform the shopping experience for smartphone users.

Walmart Stores president and CEO Doug McMillion told attendees at the retailer’s annual investor meeting in October that it will invest more in building its ecommerce offerings going forward and less in new stores. The critical role of mobile is exemplified by this recent announcement of InstaWatch from Walmart, which enables smartphone users to scan a receipt using the Savings Cather app to stream the digital copy of the physical movie DVDs they purchase in-store or online (see story).

In June, Walmart expanded its Savings Catcher online receipt comparison tool nationwide and included access via its mobile application to help in-store shoppers save more.

Savings Catcher uses proprietary technology to compare competing retailer ads and reimburses shoppers via an eGift card if a competitor’s offering is priced lower than the price paid at Walmart. Nearly one million receipts have been processed using Savings Catcher since Walmart launched it in pilot in seven markets this spring, with the tool ranking first on the retailer’s list of concepts tested to date (see story).

Walmart has been a leader in making its mobile offerings more valuable by integrating them with the in-store experience.

“You carry your smartphone with you all the time so when you’re in the store, you have access to information about nearly all products in that store right at your fingertips and you can easily and quickly find the products you are looking for,” Mr. Jariwala said.

Final Take
Caitlyn Bohannon is an editorial assistant on Mobile Commerce Daily, New York