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Walmart exec: Mobile will drive 40pc of online holiday trafficBy Chantal Tode
With mobile use in-store and online expected to play a bigger role this holiday season for retailers, Walmart is enhancing Black Friday shopping via a new interactive store locator map and exclusive deals on its mobile application.
Black Friday is traditionally one of the biggest shopping days of the year, with retailers such as Walmart rolling out special deals and other incentives to drive shoppers into their stores. This year, mobile will play a key role in those efforts for Walmart and other retailers as they look to leverage mobile to make the shopping experience more convenient.
“We know that half of our Walmart customers already own a smartphone,” said Ravi Jariwala, director of public relations at Walmart, Bentonville, AR. “We expect them to use mobile devices to shop Walmart this holiday season.
“We expect mobile to drive 40 percent of Walmart.com’s total holiday traffic year – that is a substantial number coming from mobile,” he said.
“When you look at it, it makes sense to give them access to tools that help them shop Walmart.”
Mobilizing in-store customers
In the past six months, Walmart has focused on mobilizing its in-store customers by providing access to tools and content that help them shop in store, such as the In-Store Mode for its app that was introduced earlier this year.
Because Walmart stores are geo-fenced, when users open the Walmart app inside a store, they are prompted to enter the In-Store Mode. Once they do, the app surfaces features and content that is specific to that store, including price check.
Starting on Nov. 19, In-Store Mode will also include an interactive store map enabling customers to click on items from the Black Friday circular and see where they are located, a price and item description. The interactive map will only be available for the Black Friday shopping period.
The retailer expects customers to use the new interactive map when they are in the store to see where items are located and to use it at home as they prepare their shopping trip.
“We talk a lot about how do you make sure you provide an app experience that is relevant for customers as they are shopping at home from a couch and also give them all the contextually relevant features they need when they are in a store,” Mr. Jariwala said.
“The needs that you have when you are in the store are going to be different than when on you are on your couch at home,” he said.
The local store map will also be available to view and print on Walmart.com and local Walmart Facebook pages.
Seamless shopping experiences
Users will also be able to add items from the circular to a mobile shopping list by tapping their phone on an item and to search for items that are part of the Black Friday promotion from the circular on the mobile app.
Other enhancements include giving app users early access to special deals and information. These customers will be able to purchase select items directly online at Walmart.com and via the Walmart mobile app hours before they are available in stores.
Customers who sign up for email at Walmart.com or “Like” its Facebook page will also receive this information.
“One of the things that you hear us talk about is this vision to win in ecommerce by giving customers a seamless shopping experience through mobile and online,” Mr. Jariwala said. “We know Black Friday is a key event for customers and the holidays are a critical time.
“We are looking at what are the different ways we can innovate and give customers more access to Walmart and let them choose how they want to shop,” he said.
“I think through these types of digital innovations that combine our digital capabilities with our national footprint of stores give us a competitive advantage and allow us to deepen our relationship with customers.”
Chantal Tode is associate editor on Mobile Commerce Daily, New York
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