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10/27/2022

Walmart streamlines digital shopping experience

The retailer is using technology to take the guesswork out of gifting.
Sandra Levy
Senior Editor
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Walmart is sprucing up its digital shopping experience for customers ahead of the holidays.

“As many of us start preparing to welcome friends and family members into our homes for the holidays, Walmart is taking the same actions to get our “house” ready for holiday shopping," Brock McKeel, senior vice president of site experience at Walmart e-commerce, said in a post on Walmart's website. 

McKeel added, "We’re pulling out all the stops for our customers on Walmart.com, ensuring that they have fast, frictionless, engaging and personalized shopping experiences that save them time, save them money and make shopping on our site just as easy as shopping in one of our stores.” 

Pointing out that Walmart has been hard at work over the past year to enhance its site and add new features that improve and personalize the shopping experience on Walmart.com and on Walmart’s app, McKeel said, “Today, we’re excited to announce even more enhancements, just in time for the most wonderful time of the year. During the hustle and bustle of the holiday season, we know that time is incredibly valuable and we want to simplify the shopping process as much as possible, so our customers can spend their time where it really matters.”

[Read more: Walmart's "Black Friday Deals for Days" returns]

McKeel continued, “We’ll hold your place: Our [JE3] virtual queuing experience developed by our Walmart Global Tech and eCommerce Product teams will keep customers’ places in line for the highest demand items during Black Friday events while they continue shopping our site for other gifts or weekly essentials, making sure they know when they’re in line, their estimated wait time and how long they have to checkout to guarantee an item. We'll even hold their spot in multiple queues at once just in case they’re looking to purchase multiple different high demand items.”

Additional enhanced features:

  • Skip the checkout: Just need to purchase a last-minute gift or do a quick repurchase of your favorite cereal? Customers can now choose to “buy now” on most items across all categories, allowing them to purchase items directly from item pages.
  • Don’t miss out: Customers will now be able to see the most viewed and purchased items in their search results, helping them quickly locate popular items or discover new favorites. On item pages, they’ll even able to see how many people are viewing the item now and how many people have the item in their carts – so they can be sure to purchase it before that dreaded out-of-stock.

“We know our customers come to us for value and that it’s more important than ever during the holiday season," McKeel said. "In a recent survey, 78% of customers said inflation will have some or a great deal of impact on their holiday shopping. And with customers shopping for the holidays earlier than ever this year, we’ve been working hard to make sure the site experience makes it easy for them to find great deals, whether they’re checking items off their holiday or grocery lists.”

[Read more: Pharmacy Innovator of the Year: Walmart connects with communities]

Noting that Walmart is marking savings throughout its site with a green price tag so that customers can easily and quickly identify which items are on sale and what the discounted price is, McKeel said, “And this is only the beginning! As we begin to showcase the amazing deals our customer can find at Walmart this holiday season, we will maximize customer exposure to those deals throughout multiple touchpoints in the customer journey from the homepage all the way through the order confirmation page.” 

McKeel acknowledged that finding the perfect gift can be stressful and Walmart wants to make sure customers can gift with confidence. “From introducing a new technology that enables customers to virtually view items in their homes to offering recommendations for the perfect top to go with a pair of pants, we’re taking the guesswork out of gifting,” McKeel said.

To that end Walmart’s enhanced experience includes:

  • View a big screen on your small screen: It recently expanded our new augmented reality feature, View in Your Home,” to over 200 televisions on our iOS app, knowing that this is an extremely popular category for customers during this time of year. With this feature expansion, customers can now virtually see how a TV would fit in their space before they purchase, ensuring a fool-proof holiday movie marathon; and
  • Complete the outfit: The retailer recently announced a  powered by visual outfitting and styling solution Stylitics that suggests complementary apparel and accessories, allowing customers to build a full outfit. It has announced that Stylitics is now available in men’s, baby , and kids’ apparel for select brands including No Boundaries, Free Assembly, Wonder Nation, Justice, and more. Available for 8,000 items spanning seven categories and including 16,000 outfit variations, the retailer is making it easy for customers to discover new items and maybe a new personal style this season. It will be expanding this feature to items for the home.

[Read more: Walmart pilots drone delivery in Arkansas

“Every improvement to the site experience helps us create a faster, more engaging and more personalized experience for our customers, and we’re just getting started. The closest store to our customer is in their pocket, and they can trust us to makes it easy for them to save time, save money, and, ultimately, live better this holiday season,” McKeel concluded.

McKeel told Drug Store News that Walmart anticipates this holiday season to be as large as years past. "As we’ve seen in the last several quarters with our e-commerce growth, we expect our customers will continue to do more of their holiday shopping online. And as we reported this past quarter, we’re seeing this growth even as customers choose to do more in-person shopping. It really shows the power of our omnichannel shopping experience. " 

McKeel went on to say that no matter how or where Walmart's customers want to shop, "we want to make shopping online as engaging, personalized and fast as shopping in-store. Our ultimate goal with our site updates and innovations is to provide a shopping experience that leaves customers feeling confident, efficient and reassured that they‘re getting great value, so they can ultimately save money and live better."

What does the future of online shopping look like? "It's all about creating fast, easy and seamless experiences that take the work out of shopping. Consumers want to be able to find, transact and obtain their purchases quickly and without any pain points. Creating this frictionless experience requires us to continually streamline and enhance every part of the digital shopping journey, from homepage to search to checkout," he said.  

Finally, McKeel concluded, "To continue to work toward this goal, Walmart focused on three ideas this holiday season – how can we save customers time, how can we help them find value more easily and how can we help take the guesswork out of gifting. Combined, these enhancements, including a virtual queuing experience and an expanded AR feature for viewing items in your home, make it quick and easy for Walmart customers to find what they’re looking for this holiday season." 

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