Over the next month, Walmart will offer all online shoppers the ability to search for groceries and other goods simultaneously across both e-commerce and retail stores and to build one basket that will be fulfilled from different locations to maximizing order fulfillment.
Previously, online Walmart shoppers had to choose between building a basket from an e-commerce platform or retail stores.
By making it easier for consumers to shop online across channels, the shift could have an outsized impact on Walmart’s ability to grow its e-commerce sales, which grew 6% year-over-year during the retailer’s second quarter on top of nearly doubling a year ago when the pandemic pushed many shoppers online.
It also serves as a capstone of sorts to more than a year of effort by Walmart to bring the online business more in line with its overall ethos as a supercenter.
At Barclays Consumer Staples Conference last week, Walmart-US president and CEO John Furner explained that up until a year ago the retailer had two apps – an Orange app for grocery and a Blue app for the e-commerce business, and while “both worked well … they did create some friction for customers."
He compared the dual apps to grocery stores and general merchandising stores in the late 1980s and early 1990s, and said that bringing them together into one universal app last year was akin to Walmart’s CEO David Glass scaling the supercenter through the 1990s.
After bringing the apps together, last week’s announcement that Walmart would create a universal search and checkout feature that will rely on the supply chain team in the background to optimize fulfillment is a logical next step in creating a digital supercenter experience.
“Up to about last week, we had about 10% of our traffic on one single shopping application with universal search and universal checkout. It is a great experience. We are now scaling to traffic now and hope to have it in front of all users by the end of the month,” Furner said.
He added that he is “really excited about the replatforming” because it transforms the customer experience for the better.
“The customer deserves to be able to enter anything that they need from Walmart and we should figure out how to fill it in the background,” Furner said.
Shoppable recipes take ‘guesswork out of meal planning’ and could build bigger baskets
Walmart is further enhancing its ecommerce experience by partnering with Meredith, which publishes Allrecipes, Better Homes & Gardens, Real Simple and other food and home related content. Together they will offer AI-powered meal planning, shoppable recipes and more.
The partnership strives to take the “guesswork out of meal planning for busy families, [by] making it easier and faster to discover, plan, prepare and enjoy delicious meals together” through new “shoppable ad experiences” that allow customers to add meal plans and recipe ingredients directly to their Walmart online grocery cart for pickup or delivery, the retailer said.
Among the many offerings from the partnership is a “shoppable bookazine” featuring editor-curated recipes and 30-minute meals that will be sold exclusively in Walmart, a visual search tool that allows consumers to photograph ingredients they have in their pantries to receive meal suggestions that use those ingredients, and a ‘shop now’ button that will appear on popular Allrecipe TikTok videos that allows viewers to add ingredients to their digital Walmart shopping cart.
These investments underscore Walmart’s commitment to grocery and e-commerce, which Walmart CEO Doug McMillon said during the firm’s second quarter earnings call last month are key priorities.