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Walmart builds ereceipts platform for better mobile in-store experiences

The pedestrian store receipt gets a significant mobile makeover in Walmart’s hands thanks to a new platform currently rolling out in stores that is designed to help customers store digital receipts on their Walmart applications and interact with the content in a variety of ways, including to build shopping lists.

While many retailers offer ereceipts, these are often simply emailed to customers but they typically offer no value beyond being a digital alternative to a print receipt. What is unique about Walmart’s take is that there is a strong mobile component running throughout a program that is viewed as an important strategy for innovating the in-store experience via digital strategies.

“We want be the leader at the intersection of digital and physical,” said Wendy Bergh, vice president of mobile and digital strategy at WalmartGlobal Ecommerce, San Bruno, CA. “It is a critical piece of Walmart’s strategy to lead in retail and ereceipts is one of the technologies that we believe is going to help accelerate us on that front.

“We know over fifty percent of our store customers have smartphones and they are looking to us for digital experience. The way we think about it today – just like they go to our supercenter in the physical world, our app is really going to be the supercenter for them in the digital world.

“They are coming to us and we are going to be able to provide them with a robust set of features, whether it is erecepits, pharmacy, shopping lists, mcommerce. Those are some of the features that we are already providing in the app and we will continue to build on that in the future.”

The ereceipts strategy is the latest example of how Walmart continues to build out its mobile app and follows the recent introduction of pharmacy services (see story).

In an interview with Mobile Commerce Daily, Ms. Bergh discusses ereceipts and the important role Walmart sees for them going forward.

What is unique about how Walmart is approaching ereceipts?
A lot of our competitors have launched ereceipts and a lot of them, what they are doing is they just email the ereceipt to the customer. It is on the customer to organize their ereceipts, to go through their email and file them away.

We are taking a very different approach and making it easier for the customer by putting all of the receipts in the app. They will be stored in an ereceipts locker.

The customer will be able to come to that place in the app, they will be able to search their ereceipts, they will be able to access them whenever they want.

They will be able to look through their erecepits and if they want to add an item to their shopping list they will be able to do that very easily. So it integrates with other parts of the app very easily, making it contribute to the overall mobile experience.

How do customers register to receive ereceipts?
We are rolling this experience out over the next several weeks. There are multiple ways that a customer is going to be able to register for an ereceipt in our stores.

The first way is via a store receipt. So at the bottom of every physical receipt that we give, it will prompt customers to scan a QR code to register. If they have already registered, they will get sent to see their ereceipts.

The other way that they will be able to engage is during checkout at the store. The customer will be asked via the debit card reader device if she wants an ereceipt. All she has to do is enter a mobile phone number and we will either send her a text on how to register or, if she has already registered, we will send her an ereceipt.

We will send them a text and it will link to an experience where they can register and we confirm their mobile number. Once we have that, they can start getting their ereceipts in their app.

What other value-add services are you building off of ereceipts?
As part of this, one of the things we are launching is the ability for customers to do a return with ereceipts. Now the customer just has to bring their phone, which they likely already bring to the store, instead of keeping the physical receipt.

Why we are doing this, it is really part of our longer term vision to leverage technology to enhance our in store experience. Overall, we see mobile as such as critical piece of helping customers have an enhanced experience in store. Helping them save more money and more time. Ereceipts is one of the technologies that we are building to capitalize off that.

If you think about the future, one of the things that we will be able to do with ereceipts is that we will be able to provide better budgeting tools for customers.

Based on the items that customers buy, we will be able to recommend to customers similar but maybe higher value items that help them save money with Walmart.

How do ereceipts enhance the digital shopping list experience for customers?
We’ve had shopping lists in the mobile experience for a while but one of the other things we might be able to do is make it a more predictive experience. Imagine that you are shopping and the app reminds you to buy your milk or reminds you to buy your diapers when you are running out. That’s something that we think is huge.

Ninety percent of our customers create a shopping list so being able to have that digitized and more automated is only going to help the customer shop with Walmart and have an easier, more convenient experience

Shopping lists is definitely one of our top used features. Customers love that it helps them see the store inventory availability and pricing. They are able to see rich content of what the product looks like. It helps them find the items because it has aisle location in there as well.

We’ve seen a great response to shopping lists.

The best shopping list is one you don’t even have to create and that is what we want to deliver for them so that’s where we are headed.

Final Take
Chantal Tode is associate editor on Mobile Commerce Daily, New York