Marc Lore e-commerce chief of Walmart is leaving for a new pursuit. He sold Jet.com to Walmart and took over as e-commerce chief. You can consider his 5-year stint as a successful one. He has doubled its market share of online sales to 5.8 percent and Walmart’s stock price increased by more than 80 percent since the Jet.com acquisition. All organizations now recognize that they are a Digital and Information organization first. Even as recently as 5 years back this view was not very common. To transform a large and major retailer and adopt digital technologies across the supply chain, inventory management, customer service at stores, and e-commerce is a major undertaking.
Let us look at this transformation through a few observations from Walmart’s mobile application. There are two key features that provided me a positive experience.
1) Search with support for barcode scanning and voice: The barcode scanner can be used to check the price of any item in a Walmart store. Some of the other retailers still rely on a price check kiosk, which doesn’t work sometimes and so out of date when compared to what Walmart offers.
2) Item locator: If you want to pick up say party supplies, as soon as you search and land on the item page you can see its location with the aisle number. It is one of the most useful features for a big-box retailer like Walmart.
3) Accurate Stock Information: The app also shows if the item is in or out of stock. I have found this feature to be highly accurate at 98% or above. Given what goes into maintaining accurate inventory across channels it is a commendable mark.
On the other hand, Walmart’s e-commerce and Digital adoption are still work-in-progress. On opening the Walmart Mobile app, you will see the Conway law in operation. The Walmart.com and Store app (Pickup & Delivery) are two different apps bundled, uncomfortably into one. In a twist, the dot com application provides the aisle location whereas the store app doesn’t.
Walmart has introduced a marketplace where customers can buy merchandise sold by other sellers. But when you search, click and add to the cart, this information is not prominently shared. The return policy and processes for an item sold in Marketplace are different from ones sold by Walmart. As a customer, you may easily miss it and have to go through the hoops to return an item. Marc has succeeded in transforming a non-digital native organization, but there is still some way to go, as you see from the disjoined user experience.
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