- More than a year after combining its grocery and general merchandise apps, Walmart is further consolidating its retail app by rolling out universal search and checkout, John Furner, president and CEO of Walmart U.S., said in a virtual session of the Barclays 2021 Global Consumer Staples Conference on Wednesday.
- The change allows users to make one basket and transaction for items that will get fulfilled from different locations. Furner said the supply chain team will determine how to optimize the order fulfillment process.
- Separately, Walmart announced on Wednesday a cross-platform partnership with the Meredith Corporation featuring artificial intelligence-powered meal planning, shoppable recipes, visual search, chatbots and more to help people plan and make meals.
The new changes further elevate Walmart's e-commerce business as the retailer builds out its omnichannel strategy and looks to keep the online sales momentum brought on by the pandemic.
Last year, Walmart combined its orange app for grocery and blue one for general merchandise under "Project Glass," which was named in honor of David Glass, former Walmart president and CEO, who scaled the supercenter model through the 90s, Furner said. But shoppers still have to pick between ship-to-home or orders for pickup or delivery before searching for items.
That's changing, and as of last week, about 10% of Walmart's traffic was on the consolidated shopping application, Furner said, adding that Walmart is in the process of scaling the offering with the goal of having it available to all users by the end of the month.
"We always say to ourselves internally we never want to show our customer our org chart. And what the blue app and the orange app is, it pretty clearly showed you the org chart … so we want to take that visibility away from the customer and be there for anything that they need from us," Furner said.
Meanwhile, the new partnership with Meredith pairs that company's food content expertise, hyper-local consumer insights and proprietary technology platform with Walmart's customer base, product assortment and shopping options for "shoppable ad experiences."
People can shop for Walmart products across Meredith's portfolio of brands, including Allrecipes, Better Homes & Gardens, Parents, EatingWell and Real Simple.
The partnership includes a shoppable "bookazine" with 30-minute meal ideas from Allrecipes sold exclusively at Walmart stores. Visual search technology will use people's photos of ingredients they have to suggest recipes using those items, while people can use Google Assistant-enabled smart speakers or smart displays, like Nest Hub, to search Allrecipes by ingredient, keyword or dish name before ordering the needed ingredients for pickup or delivery through Walmart. Allrecipes videos are now shoppable via Walmart with ads on TikTok through the "Shop Now" button.
"This wide-ranging partnership with Walmart includes first-party data-driven 'Make It Easy' and 'Kid Foodology' programs, which reimagine the shopping experience with highly personalized content and ad experiences that deliver unparalleled value every step of the way," Corbin de Rubertis, senior vice president of innovation at Meredith, said in the announcement.
Grocery is a key area for future investments as the retailer shifts to "more of a digital-first mindset," Walmart CEO Doug McMillon told investors during the company's second-quarter earnings call last month. In Q2, Walmart saw both grocery and e-commerce sales up 6% year-over-year. The grocery category has been seeing product improvements, e-commerce growth and added supply chain capacity, executives said during the call.
Walmart's e-commerce sales, which nearly doubled a year ago due to the pandemic, are on track to hit $75 billion worldwide for the year.