Walmart gets personal with shoppers

24 May 2013
LAS VEGAS: Walmart, the retailer, is aiming to use smartphones to deliver personalised service to customers, including the automatic creation of shopping lists for them via a mobile app.

Gibu Thomas, Walmart's global head of mobile, told a CTIA Wireless trade show that the retailer planned to use mobile to improve the in-store shopping experience.

He cited several independent studies which indicated that in-store buying influenced by mobile use will be twice as big as e-commerce by 2016, and he expected such sales to reach $700m at Walmart, reported Techworld.

"It's about a personalized experience for each shopper delivered through the smartphone," he stated.

More than half of Walmart's customer base already own smartphones, and those that use the company's mobile apps tend to be more loyal and active, making four more trips and spending 77% more in store each month.

Thomas also highlighted a feature of the Walmart app – a smart shopping list, which offers customers a shopping tally and running total, intelligent voice recognition, statistics on local pricing, and information on where to find certain items.

By analysing customers' previous purchases, he expected the app would soon be able to automatically compile a shopping list when it was opened.

"The best shopping list is one you don't have to create, so that's the one we're working on," he declared.

The company is also testing a feature that allows customers to scan each item as they shop and then check out and pay with a single scan at the register, which could drastically cut in-store wait times, reported CNet.

But Thomas also warned against a focus on technology and insisted that Wal-mart was taking a "very customer-centric approach".

"Our goal is to create shopping tools that become second nature to customers," he said.

Data sourced from CNET, Techworld; additional content by Warc staff
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