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Ecommerce clicks with Walmart

News, 19 February 2016

BENTONVILLE, AR: Walmart, the retail giant, believes its expanding slate of ecommerce options are both deepening customer engagement and providing invaluable shopper insights.

Doug McMillon, Walmart's President/CEO, reported on a full-year earnings call that Walmart now offers online grocery shopping in 150 locations across more than 20 markets in the US.

"Customers are ordering online and on their phones and then picking up their groceries on our parking lots without ever leaving their cars. Customer satisfaction for those who use our free pickup service is in the high 90s," he said.

And their enthusiasm for ecommerce is yielding granular datapoints, too: "We are learning some interesting things along the way. We've found that 8pm to 9pm is one of the most popular times customers order groceries online, usually once the kids go to bed," added McMillon.

"We also see a healthy number of orders in the middle of the night. These may be parents comforting or feeding infants and ordering more diapers or formula to pick up the next day."

Its various ecommerce services enjoyed especially strong demand from Thanksgiving to Cyber Monday – and almost 50% of buyers making purchases digitally in this period did so via mobile.

Neil Ashe, President/CEO of Walmart's Global eCommerce and Technology operations, drew attention to the organisation's attempts to integrate its activities in this arena.

On Black Friday, he said, a smart-TV sold out online in 20 minutes. The firm thus "dialled up the promotion on Walmart.com" for another television set from the same brand, made it available for in-store pick-up, and saw it sell out, too.

The company's Black Friday circular was similarly made available for the first time on its mobile app – and, as a result, this tool "jumped to the number one spot in the Apple App store."

Ashe reported that the current digital agenda involved allowing customers to buy products however and wherever they chose at "Walmart prices" – and the customer feedback it receives suggests such efforts are making a meaningful impact.

"We're continuing to see the strong emotional response it triggers with customers and the very personal relationship they're forming with Walmart," he said. "Customers are literally jumping out of their cars to rave about it."

Data sourced from SeekingAlpha; additional content by Warc staff