4 Reasons For Walmart’s Omnichannel Grocery Retail Success
Even though Amazon’s recent acquisition of Whole Foods has brought omnichannel grocery retail to our attention, Walmart has been profiting from the synergy of its well established online and offline grocery retail channels for quite some time.
The company is well positioned to take advantage of the consumer trend in omnichannel retail, in which consumers expect a seamless and consistent user experience across all channels and interactions, including physical stores, web, social media, mobile, call center, and others.
Walmart’s infrastructure allows it to coordinate activities and consolidate data across channels to achieve synergy and efficiency while analytics on its large customer database provide further insights into consumer preferences and behaviors.
Instead of solely focusing on providing delivery service like many eGrocers do, Walmart offers a mix of online and in-store experiences that include drive-through and buy-online-pick-up-in-store to satisfy the various reasons that consumers choose to shop for grocery online.
In Q1 2017, Walmart’s grocery business surged a staggering 63 percent and added 0.8 percentage points to its first-quarter same-store sales gain. Now the company is on track to scaling this offering to more stores.
What’s Walmart doing right in its omnichannel grocery retail strategy? Turns out, quite a bit:
1. Brand Promise of “Everyday Low Price”
A study by Hartman Group found that 35% of consumers order groceries online for better pricing.
Walmart leverages its brand promise of “everyday low price,” which is very appealing to many shoppers.Image source
Not only does this pricing strategy increase Walmart’s competitiveness in both mainstream and online Grocery markets, but it also helps attract customers used to shopping for food at brick-and-mortar discount or dollar stores.
2. Free Two-Day Shipping
In the same study by Hartman Group, 43% of participants indicated free shipping as a major reason they buy groceries online.
Walmart’s free two-day shipping makes having groceries delivered to their doorsteps a no-brainer for the many customers who want to avoid traveling to a store, dealing with a crowd, and spending time on shopping.
3. In-Store Pick Up Of Online Orders
For customers who like instant gratification but want to avoid the crowd, save time from having to look for items in the store, and enjoy the convenience of utilizing their personalized re-order lists, Walmart offers a service that allows shoppers to place their orders online, choose a time slot, and have the order loaded directly into their cars at their local Walmart.
In addition, the company has recently implemented geo-fencing technology that links up a customer’s mobile device to the local store so the order, which was placed online, will be waiting for the customer at the parking lot.
This omnichannel customer experience is made possible by Walmart’s many physical locations, as well as its robust e-commerce platform and personalization strategy that link their offline operation to the online shopping experience.
4. Employee Delivery
For many online grocery retailers, the “last mile” delivery is often the most costly and creates the biggest logistic challenges.
Walmart is testing a program that pays participating employees to deliver online orders on their way home from work. If successful, this program can potentially increase the efficiency and reduce the cost associated with the “last mile” while delivering an even more seamless online-offline shopping experience to consumers.
The Key To Successful Omnichannel Retail
Successful execution of an omnichannel customer experience is dependent upon a seamless integration of online and offline channels.
Many of these interactions hinge upon the creation of a personalized experience based on each customer’s preferences, behaviors, and interactions with the brand, and it has become imperative that retailers design customer-centric interactions that span online and offline channels.