- Walmart upgraded its mobile app with new features that automatically activate when shoppers enter one of its 4,700 locations, according to a blog post by the company. Previously, the app required users to manually switch over to "in-store mode" to access features that are customized to each store's current promotions and inventory.
- The app switches into Store Assistant mode to offer features like a bar code scanner, ability to build shopping lists and in-store navigation. "Imagine dropping pins on a store map tied to the location of items on your list, enabling you to plan your route through our stores," Daniel Eckert, senior vice president of Walmart Services and Digital Acceleration, wrote in the blog post.
- Because 80% of Walmart customers make a shopping list before visiting the store, per the blog post, the company added a list-building feature in the app that checks the inventory before entering the store and helps people budget their trip with a mobile tool that calculates the total cost of a user's in-store shopping cart.
As Walmart fends off competition from dollar stores and e-commerce platforms like Amazon, the discount chain is making mobile tools a key part of its shopping experience both in and out of stores by continuing to streamline and enhance the mobile experience for customers. The company helped to change the retail landscape with its focus on low prices and wide range of products. Now, mobile technology is transforming its operations even more by enhancing customers' in-store experiences and make shopping trips more efficient.
This move comes as many retail marketers are beginning to embrace consumers' frequent use of phones while shopping in stores. By rolling out more mobile app features that offer useful tools for shoppers, marketers can gain more information around consumers' shifting shopping habits and encourage customer loyalty by providing a seamless and easy in-store buying experience.
Walmart isn't alone in embracing mobile tech at its locations. E-commerce giant Amazon last month opened its Amazon Go store to the public in Seattle after testing the cashier-free store with employees for more than a year. The new store format is intended to ease checkout lines by automatically tallying up what shoppers grab off shelves and charging their accounts automatically as they leave the store. Shoppers need to have the Amazon Go app loaded on their phones to enter the store through a gate that scans a code on the app. With this growing surge in enhancing in-store shopping experiences, it's not hard to imagine that other retailers, including Walmart, will soon follow suit and add similar features to its arsenal.