Likely Investments in the Big Retail Technology Stacks, In Addition To Boosting Efforts In Recruitment, Marketing And Customer Service; Retailer to Hire Seasonal Associates to Meet Demands of Increased Online Shopping
American multinational retail corporation Walmart has announced its plans ahead of the holiday shopping season. The retailer plans on increasing the availability of holiday season gifts and essential items across all its physical brick and mortar stores, ensuring shoppers have a safe and convenient shopping experience. With the holidays around the corner, the US-based retailer has adapted new means to keep store managers, employees and shoppers safe from the perils of the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to the lastst IAS report on holiday shopping trends, “89% of consumers reported that they find online advertising important in discovering new products and promotions, while 31% said they believe that they are more receptive to ads during the holiday season.”
The evolving needs of its customers will be the key focus area this shopping season, even as retailers expect things to resume normalcy with likely availability of vaccines and drugs against the coronavirus.
Here’s how Walmart is preparing for the upcoming holiday season, expecting to meet an increase in online demands for customized gifts and items with mobile app-based behavioral tracking, fast wish list fulfillment, and innovative digital marketing and advertising campaigns.
Launching New Product Lines for COVID-19 Affected Generation
An average American is expected to start planning for Holiday gifts shopping at least a month ahead of November 1.
Shopping behaviors have changed dramatically in the last 6 months. Especially, for next gen shoppers who are more likely to put their savings to buy gifts and items related to ath-leisure, sleepwear, loungewear and work from home attire. Pet owners are another heavy shopping population that Walmart intends to target this holiday season. Walmart confirmed that it has increased its inventory and variety of pet products in its e-commerce, mobile app and stores significantly during the pandemic.
This year, Walmart is also promising to deliver an exceptionally contextual and all new Black Friday experience.
Focus on Gaming and Entertainment
Holiday gift lists are heavily inclined toward entertainment and pleasure. Walmart customers are likely to shop more for TVs, laptops, video games and accessories. Walmart is also planning to increase its range of toys and kids items, including puzzles, board games and Legos.
For those who like to cook at home for friends and family, Walmart has announced the “Holiday Bake Center” across its major stores. The center will house a wide range of popular kitchen appliances, like the KitchenAid Plus Stand Mixer.
Scott McCall, Executive Vice President and Chief Merchandising Officer, Walmart US says –
“Over the past six months, our customers have been shopping differently, and we expect that will continue into the most important shopping season of the year – the holidays.”
“We’ve heard from our customers that many plan on starting their holiday shopping well before Black Friday, and that they’re looking for gifts that fit their current lifestyle. So, we’ve adjusted our strategy to adapt to these new shopping preferences – we’re offering more of what they want now, earlier than ever, and all at the best prices.”
Contactless Transaction at All Points
Walmart is ensuring 100% contactless pickup and delivery services across all its stores and delivery outlets. The delivery system is capable of handling 160,000 items every day, delivering them to the destination within 2 hours (Express Delivery options). It is also offering “Free Next Day” or “Free Day-2 Delivery” to every customer who order gifts over $35 USD. The offers are valid depending on the customer locality and type of membership / eligibility.
All Walmart stores are offering contactless payment where the customers can pay in a Walmart store contact-free on any register when using Walmart Pay via the Walmart app.
20K New Walmart Employees to Join During the Holiday Season
Walmart has revealed its plans to hire 20,000 new associates in its e-Commerce delivery and fulfillment centers across the US. This would help the retailer meet the unexpected rise in online deliveries.
Each week, over 265 million customers and members visit approximately 11,500 stores under 56 banners in 27 countries and eCommerce websites. With the fiscal year 2020 revenue at $524 billion, Walmart employs 2.2 million associates worldwide. Walmart continues to be a leader in sustainability, corporate philanthropy and employment opportunity.
Vacancies are open for a variety of job roles, including for Order fillers, power equipment operators, and so on.
Seasonal employment will continue through the rest of 2020, with extended opportunities to convert this into a full-time regular employment.
Since March, Walmart has aimed at employing 500,000 seasonal employees for its e-commerce fulfillment centers since March.
At the time of this announcement, Greg Smith, executive vice president, supply chain for Walmart U.S. said –
“The holidays are always a special time, and this year we think the season will mean even more to our customers. As more of them turn to online shopping, we want to ensure we’re staffed and ready to help deliver that special gift to their loved ones while continuing to fulfill our customer’s everyday needs. We’re also proud to be able to continue to provide employment opportunities across the country when it’s needed most.”
Safety, Convenience and Contactless Check outs Become the New Norm at Stores
The health and safety of its customers and associates is Walmart’s top priority.
Walmart is taking additional steps to ensure workers, store managers, and customers have a safe shopping experience inside the centers. Some of these include –
- Reduced shopping hours, to ensure stores are properly sanitized and shelves stocked ahead of next day opening;
- All humans inside the shopping centers are compulsorily required to wear face masks;
- Plastic barriers and sneeze guards to ensure customers and store transaction handlers have a decent physical distance and barrier between them;
- Traffic management with PAS announcing the importance of safe travel and hygiene in public places;
Customers can also sign up for a Walmart+ membership for $98 a year to receive unlimited free delivery from stores, including on gifts, like electronics and toys, fuel discounts, and access to tools, like Scan & Go, that let customers scan their items as they shop and pay using Walmart Pay for a quick, easy, touch-free payment experience.
Currently, Walmart helps people around the world save money and live better – anytime and anywhere – in retail stores, online, and through their mobile devices.