- Walmart is launching what it says is its earliest-ever blitz of holiday deals to make up for a shortened shopping season before the Thanksgiving weekend.
- Discounts start on Friday and are spread across electronics, gaming, toys, home and sporting goods, according to a company press release.
- The retail giant also is touting its expanded set of shopping features and services, including personalized gift recommendations, a scannable toy catalog and free next-day delivery.
Walmart is attacking a shortened holiday shopping season this year by trying to stretch it out deeper into the calendar.
Along with holiday gift discounts, Walmart also promoted its new range of services both online and in stores, such as its "Check Out With Me" option, which allows customers to make purchases with free-floating employees around the store, and a DotCom Store, where shoppers can make online purchases at the store for items not in stock.
In short, Walmart is focusing its holiday offer around both price and convenience — particularly in its stores, where it has an advantage over Amazon.
Steve Bratspies, the executive vice president and chief merchandising officer for Walmart U.S., said in a press release that the retailer is "making sure this season is the easiest yet for our customers with nine tech-enabled ways to shop for everyone on their list — when and how they want."
Walmart is also trying to lure customers into its stores through events, including tie-ins around the Pokémon and Star Wars movies, which have plenty of merchandise to accompany them.
Walmart, especially since it has ramped up its e-commerce arm with the Jet acquisition, has been locked into a price war with Amazon that intensifies during the holiday season.
More than three-quarters of consumers plan to buy goods from Walmart and/or Amazon this holiday season, according to recent Coresight Research data. But Amazon's fee-paying Prime Members are incredibly loyal, with 88% planning to buy on Amazon during the holidays. Worse for Walmart, Coresight said they and rival Target stood to lose the most shoppers to Amazon for holiday purchases.
But stores, where Walmart has the advantage, still have allure, with a majority of holiday shoppers planning on making visits. According to Coresight's research, shoppers like physical stores for browsing, product testing and sheer enjoyment of the physical shopping experience.