Walmart is rolling out a number of new features just in time for the holiday shopping season. The retailer says that the new features are designed to make shopping easier and more enjoyable this Christmas. One program that allows customers to shop without checking out through traditional registers is considered to be one of the most important steps forward.
The retailer is also going to launch an app that maps out each store. The new program is called “Check Out With Me.” It allows customers to directly pay for goods with Walmart associates using handheld devices. The devices will be stationed all across the store.
Walmart believes that the new system will help customers avoid the hassle of having to line up to pay for large items like Christmas trees. However, the program is not limited to a single type of item. Anything you buy on the store can be paid for by using the new system.
The retailer has started rolling out the program gradually over the last few days. The goal is to make sure that it’s available in all Walmart supercenters before Black Friday. But there’s still more in the works. Walmart is also going to offer customers an enhanced store app that allows them to pinpoint the location of certain items. The new strategy is part of a broader plan to compete with Target and Amazon in what many analysts are calling a shipping war.
The retail giant, in fact, announced new plans the other day to offer free shipping for millions of items available on the marketplace that are priced at $35 and above. Walmart will also launch a new program in November that will allow customers to return any items they buy online to any physical Walmart store located near them. The shipping offers by Walmart appear to be almost the same as those on offer at Target. Amazon has also jumped in the shipping battle. The e-commerce platform is offering its Prime customers free one-day shipping on a number of items that cost a minimum of $35.
Many analysts believe that 2018 will be the biggest holiday shopping season for online shoppers. Therefore, it’s increasingly important for retailers to offer an exclusive experience. Working on shipping deals could be a game changer. Recent figures show that online shopping for the coming holiday season will grow by 20% to hit $120 billion in total value of purchases. However, even with this increase, online shopping is still a small part of the overall retail industry. Recent numbers show that at the moment, the value of online purchases is roughly 10% of the entire retail purchase value.
Analysts note that the physical stores offer a more exciting shopping experience, especially during the holiday season when people spend time with family and friends. For example, it may make more sense choosing a tree for the holidays together with loved ones in a physical store than just buying it online. However, there are still many other items that can be bought online and Walmart just like Amazon and Target want to maximize on this trend.