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Walmart sees 70pc of Thanksgiving traffic from mobile

Walmart’s revenue results from Thanksgiving and Cyber Monday reveal mobile drove approximately 70 percent of traffic to, reflecting the growing role of smartphones and tablets in the path to purchase.

For Walmart, the largest retailer in the United States, mobile has served as an influencer in multiple ways through social, its mcommerce app and a blend of its mobile and in-store deals. Furthermore, Walmart’s approach to mobile allows customers to enjoy an easy online experience, adding to incremental purchases and also channel shifting.

“I think they are doing some of both incremental purchases as well as mere channel shifting,” said Wilson Kerr, vice president of business development and sales at Unbound Commerce, Boston. “Consumers who are delighted by the mobile user experience they find will often bookmark a mobile site as an icon on their smartphone desktop and return multiple times.

“In-store mobile engagement is quite new and this, if retailers do it right, can support the retail location, drive high margin mobile sales, and delight consumers,” he said.

Mobile wearing multiple hats
The retailer claims that Cyber Monday 2014 was the biggest online day in its history for orders. Customers viewed more than 1.5 billion pages on between Thanksgiving and Cyber Monday.

In addition to mobile’s influence, driving approximately 70 percent of traffic to between Thanksgiving and Cyber Monday, Walmart also saw a higher traffic surge than previous years in the evening as it offered a Cyber Monday Evening Edition with great deals at a time convenient for working Americans and millennials.

Smartphone users equipped with the Walmart app and subscribed to push notifications received a notification Monday evening alerting them of the ongoing and new deals.

Conversion rates on mobile are anticipated to grow. Thus far, rates have exceeded expectations.

“At Unbound Commerce, we saw aggregate 2014 Black Friday mobile revenue, from a same-store index of 350-plus online retailers, was up 144.3 percent over 2013,” Mr. Wilson said. “Our client’s aggregate conversion rate was up 35 percent and the number of mobile sessions, across the broad index, surged 71 percent.

“Mobile Black Friday page views rendered, across the same-store index was up 79 percent,” he said. “Clearly, consumers have embraced mobile commerce and are increasingly comfortable with using mobile to not only check prices but to convert the sale when they locate a deal.

“The disproportionate increase in revenue versus sessions in our index report is indicative of the dramatic rise of mobile commerce, and we see this trend accelerating through the holiday season.”

Walmart’s holiday deals will continue through the rest of Cyber Week until Friday, Dec. 5.

Ecommerce marketplace Groupon saw record-breaking sales over the holiday weekend, also attributed to mobile in majority. A Groupon executive claimed shoppers visited the app to grab deals over the holiday weekend. Top-selling products on Groupon were electronics, household items and jewelry.

Ongoing mobile strategy
With Walmart’s pledge to match Amazon’s prices this holiday selling season, dynamic pricing is in the spotlight, emphasizing mobile’s role in impelling brands to change prices on the fly to attract online shoppers looking for the best deal.

Walmart, the world’s largest retailer, recently said it would enforce a price-matching policy in all its United States stores on prices from Amazon and other retailers for holiday. Including recent embraces of dynamic pricing by mobile apps-based taxi-hailing operations such as Uber, the developments point to mobile’s growing presence in shoppers’ gift research and ordering and its power to influence retail strategies (see story).

Walmart kicked 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 (see story).

“If Black Friday is any indication, mobile has blown wide open this holiday season,” Mr. Kerr said. “For pure plays, mobile is growing as a percentage of their overall business, as they use dedicated mobile commerce sites to reduce friction along the path to purchase.

“Many retailers we work with are also using mobile as a bridge between the online world and offline worlds for holiday 2014 and embracing omnichannel consumer engagement,” he said. “Mobile is the lynchpin of this engagement.”

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