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Walmart.com’s latest overhaul drives more personalized omnichannel experiencesBy
Mobile is a key focus of Walmart.com’s latest significant overhaul, which caters to the needs of the on-the-go shopper with more personalized product recommendations, an easier transition from digital to bricks-and-mortar and a three-step, single-page checkout process.
The site, which is built on a brand-new ecommerce platform that has been in development for two years, used small tablets used as the baseline for the new design, Walmart revealed in a post on its corporate blog yesterday. Given the growing numbers of consumers researching their purchases online from their smartphones before visiting a store, the new site attempts to meet the needs of these shoppers by making it easier to find items of interest and a nearby store where it can be bought or to complete a purchase online.
“Currently 50 percent of traffic to Walmart.com comes from mobile devices so designing with these customers in mind was a big priority for the site,” said Bao Nguyen, a Walmart spokesman.
“The site was created for tablets first, with big tap buttons and swipe elements that make it easy for tablet users to search and shop with their fingertips,” he said.
“The new site also adapts to a customer’s screen size to maximize the amount of content a customer sees – whether they are using a desktop monitor, laptop, tablet or smartphone. During Black Friday we sold ~1000 tablets/minute – and that was only in our stores – and the Walmart shopper is increasingly shopping via their tablet and mobile device.”
A faster checkout
After optimizing the site for small tablets, Walmart adapted the site for larger screens. The retailer said it will reveal more details about how the site works on smartphones at a later date.
Some of the changes are already live for nearly half of Walmart.com’s daily online shoppers and will be rolled out to all users soon.
Other changes are in the works to be introduced in the near future.
For example, Walmart is planning to release a significant revision to its checkout process on its Web site. The new checkout process will have a three-step flow that fits on a single page from start to finish.
Retailers such as Walmart are looking for ways to streamline the checkout process to make it easier for mobile shoppers to complete purchases. A checkout process that involves multiple steps or requires loading a new page can easily cause mobile shoppers to abandon a purchase and go elsewhere.
Personalization is a big focus of the redesigned site, which can now deliver more relevant suggestions to shoppers because it is able to draw from both Walmart’s online and in-store transactional data.
Not only will the personalized content be more relevant but the site will deliver more content that is personalized to individual customers based on their shopping history than previously.
Enhanced personalization is one way that retailers such as Walmart are trying to cater to the needs of mobile shoppers, who are challenged by small screen sizes and the desire to complete their shopping quickly.
By personalizing content, this can cut down on the need for mobile users to conduct extensive on-site search, which can be time-consuming and frustrating.
Walmart has also increased the quality and frequency of the personalized item recommendations made throughout the site.
Recommendations will be based on a customer’s past searches or purchases as well as based on what others typically buy along with an item of interest.
Integrating digital with physical
Another area of focus is on integrating Walmart’s digital and physical experiences. This is important as consumers increasingly initiate the research for a purchase online and then complete the path-to-purchase in-store.
The new Walmart.com addresses the growth in omnichannel shopping with a new “My Local Store” area of the site. Here, users can explore the features of their nearby Walmart stores, including a list of the latest Rollbacks and a selection of coupons.
The site also boasts a new Store-Finder.
Several other new features are not available now but are expected to live soon.
One of these is an updated item page so that when shoppers click on an item they will see a bigger focus on product imagery, a simpler presentation of buying options and improved item description content and user reviews.
The new item page also features an improved bundles experience, which gives shoppers an opportunity to purchase related products together savings.
The new ecommerce platform includes Walmart.com’s search engine and its sophisticated personalization and recommendation engines.
“Tablet ease-of-use played a big role in how we developed the redesign and it’s one of the main reasons we’re excited about that for tablet users,” Mr. Nguyen said. “For mobile users – it’s that responsive design point again – the screen adapts to the device.”
Chantal Tode is senior editor on Mobile Commerce Daily, New York
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