THINK Marketing

Taking digital strategy seriously: 3 lessons from Walmart

By , April 28, 2017

During the last holiday season, some retailers revealed their latest business advancements and took their competitors by surprise, while others still don’t get it. Retailers are in a fierce battleground in which there are low barriers to entry and consumer behavior shifts with new technology adoption. And some brands that traditionally relied on its brick-and-mortar stores to make the most of their sales cannot keep up with consumers’ current preference to shop on digital channels. With reports that 98 percent of Gen Z still shop in store, the business strategy of retailers still needs to include both brick and mortar and digital. 

In my previous blog post, I mentioned that Walmart made huge strides in improving its digital strategy after it purchased Jet.com. The retailer expanded its reach to tap new consumers it previously didn’t have success acquiring and increased the number of online conversions.

Earlier this year, Walmart was named the 2016 mobile retailer of the year, catching the long-time retail leader, Amazon. Here are three lessons you can take away from Walmart on understanding customer expectations to better increase acquisition and loyalty.

1) Shift your business model

The adoption of new technology has changed consumers’ behaviors and their way to shop. Walmart has changed its business strategy by strengthening its digital channel rather than focusing solely on its physical stores.

Earlier this month, Walmart acquired ShoeBuy.com Inc. for $70 million to further expand its digital footprint, and it expects to close 269 physical stores in 2017. Other retailers also expect to close more physical stores. Consider how you might shift your approach to enhance the digital experience.

2) Make the journey more experiential

Consumers today cherish experiences over physical goods and enjoy sharing those experiences through social platforms such as Twitter, Snapchat, Instagram, and GroupMe. With the emergence of in-store widgets, Walmart can connect its physical stores with its online presence as well as its mobile app to optimize the customer experience. How can you better integrate your in-store, online and mobile app experiences to enhance the buyer journey?

3) Convert with mobile payments

Walmart introduced Walmart Pay to make payments more convenient for its customers. Nevertheless, 80 percent of Walmart Pay transactions were from repeat customers. To further increase customer acquisition and online conversions, it also partners with other mobile pay platforms. Analyze your mobile experience and think about changes you might make to improve your customer engagement strategy on mobile.

Getting Serious About Digital and Mobile

Retailers are finally realizing that traditional brick-and-mortar stores are no longer the bread and butter for their businesses and are quickly moving their efforts to their digital and mobile stores. Like Walmart’s Jet.com acquisition, the well-established Unilever snatched Dollar Shave Club in July 2016 to beef up its online presence and acquire Dollar Shave Club’s customers. More of these company acquisitions will take place in 2017 as additional retailers embed a digital strategy into their business.

When it comes down to integrating the digital piece into the overall business strategy, knowing how to execute and deliver great web and mobile experiences to your customers is above all. Read this white paper for strategies to improve your digital strategy.

Join the Tweetchat: Enhancing the Mobile App Experience

Ready to join the mobile conversation? Join the tweetchat with panelists Joel Comm (@joelcomm), Billee Howard (@MashupTweet) and Stan Phelps (@StanPhelpsPG) as we discuss key topics around mobile trends and delivering on the mobile experience promise.

Date: Wednesday, May 10
Time: 12:00 PM PT
Follow the Hashtags: #WatsonMarketing and #MarTech

Check out some of the questions we’ll be covering below. We hope you’ll join us!

  • What key mobile marketing trends are emerging this year?
  • Why are mobile apps so important for reaching consumers?
  • Where do marketers struggle to understand their mobile app users’ experiences?
  • How can businesses deliver seamless, personalized experiences to new customers on mobile?
  • What are the top KPIs to pay attention to when assessing mobile app success?
  • What are some brands that are delivering exceptional experiences on mobile today?
  • How is #AI enhancing how marketers engage with mobile customers?
  • What mobile or other marketing trends are you most excited about at #MarTech this year? 

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