While a relative newcomer to the merchant mobile payment app landscape, Walmart Pay has been enhancing its in-store functionality to attract more shoppers. As the following article reports, Walmart has added new features that will enhance in-store shopping.
Walmart Inc. has updated its smartphone app with store maps and shopping-list builders, the latest step in the retailer’s push to reduce hassle amid a migration to e-commerce. Walmart’s app will add a feature called Store Assistant, which activates when shoppers walk in the door.
The goal is to make it easier to build shopping lists while calculating costs and quickly locating items. Maps will eventually be available for all of the chain’s 4,700 U.S. stores. The app will also show if a store has services like auto care or photo processing. The additions build on features added last year, such as tools to refill prescriptions and wire money. Over the holiday period, Walmart also employed its app to speed up the returns process.
The moves show how the world’s largest retailer is trying to embrace mobile shopping while maintaining the in-store customer traffic that remains its lifeblood. Customer visits to Walmart’s U.S. stores have risen for 12 straight quarters, fueling sales gains that helped push its shares up 43 percent last year.
The ranks of U.S. shoppers who browse and buy with smartphones should grow 5.4 percent to 187 million this year, according to data tracker EMarketer. So-called mobile commerce revenue — mostly generated via smartphones — will reach $208 billion, an annual increase of 40 percent, EMarketer forecasts.
Beefing up Walmart Pay will grow its user base and should result in more sales. There is a direct relationship between a mobile app’s integrated features and the frequency of use by shoppers. Consumers spend more and shop more frequently when they are more fully engaged with a mobile app. Just ask the quick service restaurants and cafes what mobile apps have done for their sales and repeat business. As Walmart become more e-commerce centric, watch for Walmart Pay to play a big role in this effort.
Overview by Raymond Pucci, Associate Director, Research Services at Mercator Advisory Group
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