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Walmart’s Thanksgiving weekend mcommerce volume doubles

Mobile is the dominant shopping trend at Walmart so far this holiday season, accounting for 70 percent of online traffic and nearly half of online orders since Thanksgiving.

Walmart is not alone in reporting strong mobile results so far this year, with Kohl’s asserting that mobile drove 51 percent of visits to its Web site between Nov. 23 and 29. At the same time, RetailNext Inc. reports that bricks-and-mortar store sales fell 4.7 percent over the holiday weekend and traffic dropped 5.1 percent, underscoring how retailers with strong mobile offerings are poised to capture sales in December.

“Overall, 60 percent of online visits to retailer sites came from mobile devices over the five-day Thanksgiving weekend,” said Chris Mason, CEO of Branding Brand. “Cyber Monday saw the highest spike in mobile-driven revenue market share, followed by Black Friday and Thanksgiving.”

Good and bad
Walmart reports that its customers went from previously mostly searching and browsing on mobile to making purchases a much higher rate. In fact, the volume of orders placed via mobile doubled since a year ago.

The Branding Brand Index, which is currently in beta and measures brands’ digital performance, highlights some of the ways Walmart is getting right on mobile and where it could be doing even better.

On the plus side, 100 percent of Walmart’s mobile pages have customer service easily available, sorting and filtering options are present, home page marketing banners are actionable, important pages are mobile-friendly for SEO, push notifications are enabled in apps, reviews are available on 100 percent of product pages, mobile shoppers can buy or reserve orders online and pick up in store, mobile share a persistent card across all channels and mobile offers a find in store option

On the could-be-better side, Walmart’s average page speed is too slow on mobile at 8.36 seconds, live chat is not available on mobile, there is no ability to choose the number of products shown per page on mobile, there is no express payments option, order tracking is not available on mobile and mobile does not offer social merchandising or social sharing options.

Click and collect
Kohl’s is also seeing a strong performance on mobile so far this holiday season, with mobile driving 51 percent of visits to from Nov. 23-29 and desktop 39 percent, while app usage accounted for 10 percent of traffic.

The retailer reports that its app has been visited more than 5 million times and more than 25 percent of items are expected to be fulfilled by stores either through Buy Online, Pick Up In Store or Ship From Store.

Kohl’s has been aggressively building out its mobile and digital offerings this year in advance of the holidays, including expanding same-day deliver to nine additional markets (see story) and introducing an in-store mode for its app (see story).

Head start
Bricks-and-mortar retailers are emphasizing their mobile and digital prowess as shoppers increasingly look to research and buy online as opposed to having to go into stores.

RetailNext Inc. reported yesterday that U.S. store sales over the Thanksgiving weekend dropped 4.7 percent while traffic declined 5.1 percent.

While retailers with less effective digital channels outperformed on the bricks-and-mortar side, it is those retailers with a strong digital presence, especially on mobile, and a strong multichannel experience that have a head start into holiday season, per RetailNext.

“Mobile is increasingly becoming the go-to tool of choice for shoppers as they embark on their shopping journeys, and it’s important for physical retailers to understand that mobile has become the new ‘front door of the store,” said Ray Hartjen, director of marketing at RetailNext.

“The stores that seamlessly blend their digital and physical channels and provide shoppers the easy, convenient and fulfilling shopping experience they’re craving are the ones who will rise to the top with their Holiday performance,” he said.

“An effective mobile channel is absolutely essential for future success.”

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