Walmart enhances digital shopping ahead of holidays

Dive Brief:

  • Just in time for the holiday season, Walmart on Thursday announced new online shopping enhancements that are focused on personalization and savings, according to details shared with Retail Dive.
  • Among the updates, Walmart will now have a virtual queue allowing customers to continue browsing while they wait in line for high-demand products. The retailer is also expanding its augmented reality “View in Your Home” feature to include over 200 TVs on its iOS app, opening its outfit styling function to men’s, baby and kids’ apparel for select brands, and populating searches with the most viewed or purchased products.
  • Walmart has also added a green tag to mark products on sale throughout the site as well as a “buy now” button to most products for a faster purchase.

Dive Insight:

Walmart is ramping up its digital capabilities ahead of the holidays in an effort to make the experience more seamless for customers — and hopefully save them money in the process.

The mass merchant found that 78% of customers said inflation will have some or a great deal of impact on their holiday shopping, according to a survey it conducted.

“Every improvement to the site experience helps us create a faster, more engaging and more personalized experience for our customers, and we’re just getting started,” Brock McKeel, senior vice president of site experience for Walmart e-commerce, said in a statement. “The closest store to our customer is in their pocket, and they can trust us to makes it easy for them to save time, save money, and, ultimately, live better this holiday season.”

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Screenshot of the Walmart app saying a user is in line to purchase an item
Walmart’s new virtual queue allows users to continue browsing as they wait in line.
Permission granted by Walmart

The retailer has been steadily upgrading its digital capabilities all year.

Walmart last month launched a new virtual-try-on capability for women’s apparel, allowing users to upload full-body images to the app and test out select clothing using machine-learning technology. The retailer also released a “Choose Your Own Model” function for shoppers who want to see how apparel looks on models who look similar to them, upgraded its gift registry options and expanded its Spanish language search.

The emphasis on online shopping might put some ease on Walmart’s in-store employees this year. The company announced in September that it would only hire 40,000 employees for the holidays — a far cry from the 150,000 it hired last season.

In the grocery space, the company has been experimenting with shoppable content online, enabling readers from sites like Tasty and Allrecipes to shop for ingredients from Walmart.

Walmart is among the many retailers that have started holiday deals earlier this year. The company held its “Rollbacks and More” October deals event from Oct. 10-13, competing with Amazon and Target who also held early savings days around the same time period. It also unveiled an early, multi-week Black Friday sale that will start Nov. 7.

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