Walmart Inc.’s digital and e-commerce division has been busy retooling the retailer’s app and e-commerce site, which feature hundreds of millions of products. As Tom Ward, executive vice president and chief e-commerce officer, told me, “Everyone knows that 90% of the U.S. population lives within 15 miles of a Walmart store, but the closest store to our customers is the one in their pockets.”
Of course, Ward was referring to the Walmart app, and said, “We’re turbo-charging digital. We’re giving the digital storefront a revamp. If we can remove the friction with express delivery, among other things, consumers will be grateful.”
Over the past year, Walmart has made hundreds of enhancements to transform the core digital experience for customers, elevating its e-commerce offering by creating more personalized and seamless interactions that make shopping “how it should be: fast, easy and fun,” Ward said.
Now, the world’s biggest retailer is improving the way customers can explore the endless aisles of walmart.com, imbuing the e-commerce site with a sleek and modern new look and experience that offers “a more engaging way to browse and discover our incredible assortment,” Ward said.
“Whether you’re searching for the perfect gift, looking for inspiration to redecorate your home, or just want to browse the hottest trends right now, it all begins with the Walmart app.”
Walmart has been doubling down on improving the customer experience because searching for a specific item on the e-commerce site can seem daunting, even intimidating.
“We’re rolling out a completely redesigned homepage, building a customer-centric and curated storefront on walmart.com and the Walmart app so customers can easily find what they need and be inspired to shop the hundreds of millions of SKUs in our online assortment,” Ward added.
“Open 24/7/365, walmart.com has so much to offer our customers, whether it’s on-trend denim from the 200-plus million items across our apparel assortment, or a stylish sofa from our growing 58 million-item home offering that spans organization to high-quality furniture,” Ward said.
“In addition, our thriving Marketplace business continues to expand as we add more items and brands, making Walmart the destination for everything our customers could want – and everything they need,” Ward added. “If we fix all the different opportunities,” performance and loyalty will improve.
Walmart’s product assortment is an embarrassment of riches that leaves some customers frustrated when they can’t find the product they’re looking for. “The new homepage offers a product-focused experience that better mirrors the way our customers love to shop, highlighting the items that matter most to them at any given moment – whether it’s game day or holiday,” a spokeswoman said.
“The feature-packed homepage has rich imagery, live video and is optimized to better bring Walmart’s massive assortment to life, including a new social-inspired scroll, so customers can browse our selection just as they’d scroll their favorite social media apps,” the spokeswoman said.
“A more engaging way to discover our incredible assortment, Walmart’s storefront, is customer-forward and seasonally-driven,” said a teaser for the reimagined app and updated e-commerce site.
The previous incarnation, which was launched a several years ago, was more cluttered, with a hero item, in say, the furniture category, and thumbnail photos of shirts, infant apparel, outdoor and automotive products filling up the majority of the space.
Walmart discovered that its customers like to shop by season, getting everything they want and need for Halloween, Thanksgiving, Easter, and more. Examples of seasonal events include the Super Bowl, with the heading, Score Big and Game-Time Picks; There’s Gifts to Love for Valentine’s Day, featuring over-size images of products such as a blush pink camera and earphones, candles, T-shirts, a diamond heart necklace and Hershey’s kisses.
“When you walk into a SuperCenter, you know right away what season it is,” Ward said. “We’ve got so much experience in this. We’ve been curating seasonal events for years. Easter is around the corner. We have meal solutions, and we remind consumers that they need outfits for the kids and swimwear.”
Get Your Grill On and Major backyard fun, are also teased on the web site. Beautiful by Drew, a stove to table only-at-Walmart exclusive brand is promoted on the new e-commerce experience and app.
Ward said Walmart is using mannequins in a disruptive way in stores. “The engagement and discovery journey on e-commerce can seem transactional,” he said. “It’s important that it not to seem so transactional at a time when consumers are sensitive to prices.
“People are definitely under cost pressure,” Ward said. “The web site is screaming with value. The Marketplace has been helpful. There’s been huge growth of the marketplace. We now have 400 million-plus items for sale, and the number continues to grow. This initiative will help.”
Ward said the revamped app and e-commerce site are less about curation and more about themes and what’s trending, with modules dedicated to, say, Easter, with decorated eggs, al fresco dining and dresses on the Easter-themed landing page.
Consumers who shop both online and in-store are the most valuable type of customers, spending more than those who shop only one platform or the other.
A massive 63% of all shopping journeys begin online, whether or not the consumer ends up making their purchase online or in-store, according to Zippia. As of 2022, at least 75% of consumers shopped online at least once a month. By 2023, 22.3% of worldwide total retail sales will be transacted online.
“We’re mainly focused on what resonates with customers,” Ward said, adding that the new shopping experience. “is engaging, thematic and relevant.”