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Walmart tests mobile-enabled click-and-collect grocery service

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October 2, 2014

Screen Shot 2014-10-01 at 1.32.40 PMWalmart is testing a new same-day pick-up concept enabling customers to order groceries online or by mobile phone and retrieve their orders from a drive-up facility.

The Walmart Pickup – Grocery test is taking place at a facility in the retailer’s hometown of Bentonville, AR, where customers who have previously placed an order can drive up to a kiosk to confirm their order and then park in a parking spot indicated by the kiosk to have their groceries brought out to them. The test is an example of how the growing popularity of mobile shopping is forcing retailers to develop new omnichannel experiences that bringing added convenience and value for customers.

“Anywhere from 20 to 35 percent of grocery orders are coming from mobile,” said Rebecca Roose, senior product marketer manager at MyWebGrocer, Winooski, VT. “We know that across our platform, mobile shoppers place orders more frequently than desktop-only shoppers and often will use their mobile device to create and place orders, bypassing desktop completely.

“When retailers offer an omnichannel solution they’re letting their shoppers decide what their device of convenience is; what they’re going to use, depending on their location and the context of what they’re doing,” she said.

Digital, physical integration
Walmart began fulfilling the same-day grocery orders at drive-up facility on Sept. 29.

The facility reportedly carries nearly 10,000 items, including fresh meat, dairy, produce and household items.

Orders that have been scheduled online can be scheduled for pick up two hours or up to three weeks later with no additional charge.

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The test is the latest example of how Walmart is exploring new ways to make shopping faster and convenient by integrating its digital and physical assets.

For example, this year Walmart introduced Savings Catcher, which enables customers to enter their receipt number or scan the bar code on their receipt using the Walmart app. Savings Catcher automatically looks at the items purchased at Walmart and compares the prices paid for those items to the advertised prices in the weekly print ads of local retailers.

If Savings Catcher finds an advertised price that is lower than what was paid for the same item at Walmart, the customer receives a Walmart eGift Card for the difference (see story).

Importance of omnichannel experiences
This spring, Walmart launched the Fast to Go app to enables users to pre-order ready-made meals from the retailer’s convenience concept store (see story).

Also this year, Walmart added prescription refills and other pharmacy services to its mobile app for the first time (see story).

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“Omnichannel is extremely important for the grocery industry in particular because it’s easier than ever for consumers to look for the best offers, best products and convenience digitally,” Ms. Roose said. “In a 2 percent margin business, grocery retailers are building on acquisition and loyalty.

“How people shop is not linear – over time, consumers will build a cart, research products, be influenced by what’s on sale, and explore recipe ideas – you need to be sure that your brand has a touch point along all of those interactions,” she said.

Final Take
Chantal Tode is senior editor on Mobile Commerce Daily, New York

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