- Walmart's holiday toy catalog is integrating mobile technology for the first time to let shoppers scan pages with their smartphones and order items online. The discount chain's Scan & Shop feature works in its mobile app for iOS and Android devices, per an announcement from Digimarc, the bar code technology company that worked with Walmart on the catalog.
- To activate the shopping feature, app users must tap the bar code scanner in the Walmart app and hover their smartphone six inches above a page in the catalog. The app will show a list of toys from that page to add to an online shopping cart or wish list, per a sample catalog posted online.
- The Scan & Shop feature works with the 35 million printed catalogs distributed among Walmart's 4,800 U.S. stores, and millions more mailed to homes and toy resellers. Walmart integrated its app with the Digimarc mobile software development kit to read bar codes that are imperceptible to consumers, per the announcement.
With fewer days between Thanksgiving and Christmas this year, Walmart has been getting shoppers primed for holiday deals with the "Early Deals Drop" on its website since Oct. 25, followed by the release of a toy catalog on Nov. 1 and sneak peeks at Black Friday deals. By making its print catalog more transactional with pages that can be scanned via a mobile app, the discount chain can help to ease the friction within online checkout while keeping shoppers in its own app and dissuading them from going elsewhere to buy.
Walmart is among the retailers that are working to improve the mobile shopping experience as more consumers rely on their smartphones to buy holiday gifts. Consumers will spend an additional $14 billion on their phones during this holiday season from last year's, per a forecast by Adobe Analytics. One-fifth of holiday spending is predicted to occur during the five-day Cyber Week period from Thanksgiving to Cyber Monday, generating $29 billion of online revenue.
Retailers like Walmart are taking a multichannel approach to transform their spending on print catalogs into online sales. Toys 'R' Us Canada this month introduced its holiday toy catalog that can be scanned with image-messaging app Snapchat to activate immersive, augmented reality experiences for people seeking a more entertaining way to browse potential holiday gifts.
By working together on its toy catalog, Walmart and Digimarc are expanding upon a collaboration from April to use similar scannable technology to improve the retailer's management of packaged fresh foods. Last spring, Walmart adopted Digimarc's technology for food labels, which are susceptible to damage or being fraudulently altered, per an announcement.