For decades, Walmart has been known for its low prices, but the company’s recent focus on ecommerce is helping them appeal to a broader base of customers by saving them time as well as money. The company expects U.S. online sales to increase 40 percent in fiscal 2019, reports CNBC. In fact, its online sales are growing faster than Amazon and eBay, according to Forbes.
While Walmart is one of the top three retailers in the world (with a digital budget to match), small retailers can adapt its techniques to grow their own businesses. Here are four retail takeaways from Walmart’s recent efforts to boost online and offline sales:
1. Make it Easy to Pay
Walmart has made a pledge to make life easier for busy families, and that includes innovative checkout options. Walmart Pay is a mobile app that allows customers to check out using their smartphones, uploading credit and gift cards and leaving wallets at home. The app also stores digital receipts that can be used in case of returns. Scan and Go at Sam’s Club is another app that allows customers to scan items as they shop to expedite the shopping experience. Payment is handled within the app, and customers show the digital receipt to exit at the door, bypassing checkout lines entirely.
You may not be able to create you own app with a built-in payment options, but it’s possible to accept Apple Pay and Google Pay, so shoppers can be wallet free. Almost 30 percent of iPhone users have set up and used Apple Pay, according to a 2018 report by Pymnts.com. Also consider using digital receipts in addition to or in place of paper to help facilitate returns.
2. Offer Convenience
The lines between ecommerce and in store purchases are blurring, with customers shopping online and picking up in the store, or testing products in store and ordering online for delivery. To compete with Amazon, Walmart offers discounts and free shipping for shoppers who shop online and pick up items in store.
If you have a brick and mortar presence, consider offering free pickup of online orders. Maybe even offer discounts or free gifts to entice customers to come into your physical location. Pickups can often prompt additional purchases.
3. Make In-Store Pick Up Super Fast
The worst part of ordering online and picking up an item in store is waiting for the item to be retrieved by a sales associate. Sometimes it would have been faster to shop in the store and head to the checkout. Walmart solved this problem by creating Walmart Towers at the front of stores. Customers scan a barcode on their email receipt, and the item is delivered via a giant “vending machine,” reports Digital Trends.
While you probably can’t install a giant vending machine, you can make pickup fast and easy by having items ready at the front of your store. Or provide customers with a phone number they can call when they arrive to have an associate bring the item out to your customer’s car.
4. Consider Delivery
Same-day delivery is a convenient way to get products into customers’ hands quickly. Amazon has its drones, and Walmart is leveraging team members by having them drop off online orders on their off hours or on their way home, according to the company.
You can do something similar, either by getting your own team members involved or by using services like Deliv. “…searches for ‘same-day shipping’ peak first thing in the morning. Rather than running an errand on the way to work, people are turning to their devices with the expectation that they can find a business that can help them immediately,” writes Lisa Gevelber on Google’s blog.
Walmart’s focus on its digital presence to support an omnichannel experience is a strong sign that other retailers should follow suit. “Our goal is to be the best place for our customers to shop – whether they choose to do it in stores, online, on mobile devices, or a combination of these, it will be fast and easy,” the company says on its website.
By combining your website and physical resources, you can make shopping easier for customers, too. An easy and delightful experience will prompt them to come back again and again.
See how Epson retail products can help your store deliver more seamless shopping experiences.