Wal-Mart’s ecommerce website gets a revamp with new social features like ‘Trending Now’, which is designed to match the shopping patterns of the new-age online customers.
The world’s largest retailer is making extensive use of its 4,000-plus store footprint along with mobility to achieve dominance in the digital sphere.
Walmart now credits revenues to brick-and-mortar stores for online purchases that are picked up there, reducing the sense of internal inter-channel competition, according to Neil Ashe, CEO of Walmart’s global ecommerce division. He added that about half of the merchandise ordered on Walmart’s website is shipped directly to a store, according to published reports, and that Walmart is also the only e-commerce site that allows its customers to pay cash for online purchases.
Wal-Mart believes it is strategically perfect to develop its own ecommerce technology rather than the existing solutions, to keep abreast with the changing customer trends. Neil Ashe, executive vice president of Wal-Mart and president and chief executive officer of its global e-commerce operation, said this during his speech at the annual Retail and Consumer Discretionary Conference in New York.
“Like most non-technology companies, we previously bought many of the systems that are available for sale. But we have made the strategic decision to in-source our technology around e-commerce because we believe it’s a necessary competitive advantage for us to do what we want to do. We can’t do what we want and need to do with off-the-shelf solutions. “Said Mr.Ashe.
Despite being one of the largest retailers in the world, Walmart is still struggling to catch up with its competitors in the ecommerce space.
Walmart has recently launched an internal ecommerce initiative right next to Silicon Valley called – Walmart Global Commerce, with a team of 1500 employees. Through this they are replicating various activities tech startups would usually do – Occasional ‘hack days’ and things like working on whatever engineers would want and put them into practice. Read more
Walmart is opening its doors on Thanksgiving Day at 8 p.m. local time. To persuade shoppers who may be digesting the biggest meal of the year to leave the comfort of their sofas, the retailer is offering door-busting specials at specific time slots.
Customers who are inside the store and standing in line between 10 p.m. and 11 p.m. local time can purchase a 16-GB Apple iPad 2 with WiFi for US$399 and get a $75 Walmart Gift Card; an Emerson 32-inch 720p LCD TV for $148; and an LG Blu-ray player for $38.
Walmart will offer Guarantee Cards for these items if they happen to sell out before 11 p.m.; it will also make a slew of other items available at special prices on Thanksgiving night, but they will not come with guarantees.
For example, at 8 p.m., shoppers can grab an Xbox 360 4 GB + SkyLanders Bundle for $149; and at 10 p.m., they can snatch a Samsung 43-inch 720p 600 Hz Class Plasma HDTV for $378.
Walmart will be offering special prices all weekend long. For instance, at 5 a.m. on Black Friday, a Singer Sew Mate 5400 60-Stitch Sewing Machine can be had for $99.97.
Will It Work?
An HDTV for less than $400 is definitely a head-turning bargain, but is its lure great enough to get shoppers to interrupt a family holiday — albeit one that is presumably almost over? It’s a fair question, as setting an early Black Friday opening on Thanksgiving day has not been fully or widely tested, said Sheri Petras, CEO of CFI Group.
It looks like a desperate move by retailers that need to boost holiday sales, she told the E-Commerce Times. “I’m not so sure that customers, let alone retail employees, will want to leave Thanksgiving early and deprive themselves of their family and feasts in an effort to save money and shop.”
It could be marginally effective, though.
“There was some experimentation with opening on Thanksgiving Day last year,” noted Michael O’Hara, CEO of Yumani.
The reasoning behind these decisions is clear: “All these retailers want to scoop each other,” he told the E-Commerce Times.
Walmart’s Thanksgiving Day sales might prove to be effective initially, but in the long run, opening on Thanksgiving Day will either hurt the retailer or be a wash, suggested O’Hara.
“What is happening is they are diluting the Black Friday brand,” he said. “They are taking those dollars that people typically spend on Black Friday and are spreading them out.”
Black Friday Week
Another take on Black Friday, however, is that it is no longer considered just one day — or for that matter, the day after Thanksgiving.
“At one time, the idea was that Black Friday was the cornerstone, or starting point, for holiday shopping, but that is no longer the case,” said Nicole Larrauri, managing partner with the EGC Group.”
Consumers have come to view time on their terms, and they want to shop for holiday bargains at a schedule that is convenient for them, she told the E-Commerce Times.
“People no longer have to wait for Thursday 8 p.m., for example, to watch their favorite TV show,” Larrauri pointed out. They can record it, or watch it later on YouTube.
Thanksgiving has lost its sense of being untouchable by commerce, she said. “We saw signs of that last year when traffic at online stores on Thanksgiving Day surged.”
Walmart did not respond to our request for further details.
This post originally appeared on ‘Ecommerce Times‘
Just less than a year since WalmartLabs’ decided to set up a centre in India, the R&D team in the country has started contributing in areas of big data, analytics and search algorithm.
According to Jeremy King, Senior Vice-President and Chief Technology Officer of Walmart Global e-Commerce, three out of the 10 R&D teams set up at WalmartLabs in India have already productized various ecommerce platforms. He said the India team developed the analytics and machine learning of the new search engine, Polaris what the company recently launched for Walmart.com. Read more
Walmart is stepping up its integration of its online and in-store properties by creating a proprietary search engine called Polaris. The search engine was developed by the retail giant’s in-house technology shop @WalmartLabs, which the company created following the April 2011 acquisition of Kosmix.
Polaris, announced on August 30 but launched three months ago on Walmart.com and one month ago on Walmart’s mobile platform, underscores the importance of search, particularly for e-commerce.
“The search engine is the crown jewel of any e-commerce platform,” says Sri Subramaniam, VP of @WalmartLabs. “And, typically, if you are a business you want to own [the] crown jewel and you want to actually get under the hood.” He adds that Walmart is “very, very, very serious about e-commerce” and views e-commerce and in-store shopping as part of an integrated experience. Read more
Wal-Mart Stores Inc. today is playing hero to parents and villain to children naïve enough to think summer never ends. A new feature created by the retail chain’s@WalMartLabs research arm enables teachers to digitally submit their classroom supply lists, and online shoppers to buy those items via a new site, classrooms.walmart.com. The effort, set to include a mobile element in coming weeks, launched today as part of the retailer’s larger back-to-school shoppingpush.
Shoppers visiting that site can find their school via a search box displayed near the top; consumers can search by school name and state. If a school or teacher has submitted a supply list—essentially, the e-commerce version of a service long offered by many Wal-Mart and other bricks-and-mortar stores that asked teachers to drop off their lists—the search calls forth those lists. (A button on the site’s front page encourages teachers to digitally submit their lists.) Read more
It looks like retail giant Walmart has made another acquisition. The e-commerce giant has bought Social Calendar, an app on Facebook that allows you to get birthday and holiday reminders by email and SMS, and to post personalized photo cards and other virtual greetings on friends’ Facebook Walls on their birthdays.
Here’s the message posted on Social Calendar’s site: Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (“Walmart”) completed its purchase of Newput Corporation’s Social Calendar products, services and website. We remain committed to providing the highest level of service that you have come to expect with Social Calendar. Your service with Social Calendar will continue without any interruptions, and you will be notified in the future of any material updates or changes to your service.
As we’ve written in the past, SocialCalendar, which was founded by Raj Lalwani and David Jordan, lets you plan events among Facebook friends, get movie showtimes and integrate events into a public calendar. Users can also import and get email reminders about events, birthdays and anniversaries and lets users buy virtual good icons as presents for friends and to mark events on calendars. Read more
Walmart is taking a 51% stake in Yihaodian, a leading Chinese e-commerce website, in a significant move by the U.S. retailer to boost its online presence in China.
Walmart did not disclose financial details for the partnership, which Neil Ashe, president and chief executive of Walmart Global e-commerce, said would help deliver a “superb customer experience” to consumers in China.
“This is testament to how seriously Walmart is developing their e-commerce platform in China. Having a controlling stake obviously gives them a much more direct say in how Yihaodian expands,” said Torsten Stocker, an analyst with the Monitor Group. Read more
Wal-Mart Inc. have joined hands with the social networking giant Facebook to help its retailers to connect with their customers through its local stores.
‘My Local Wal-Mart’, is the page launched by Wal-Mart, which helps the retailer’s 9 million fans to know what is happening in their nearby stores. Read more