Listening to Walmart describe enhancements to its online shopping experience — improved navigation, increased localization, simplified checkout — it sounds like the retailer is talking about its physical stores.
Whether online or in stores, the touch points the shopper experiences on their path to purchase have much in common. No surprise then that the range of enhancements Walmart said it made to its site this week are focused on the same things all retailers focus on to create a positive physical experience.
For example, among the changes now evident to shoppers are a new home page and category pages, improved searching and browsing functionality and increased localization so customers see more information specific to their location.
The new home page is said to be a simpler and bolder modern design that features merchandise and recommendations that are personalized to each visitor. Big tap buttons and swipe elements make it easy for tablet users to search and shop with their fingertips, according to Walmart. Meanwhile, new category pages are designed to provide richer content customized to the specific customer and larger, inspirational imagery that changes frequently changes. An increased number of product images and suggestion information is intended to helps shoppers discover relevant items.
The changes blur the digital and physical line and are reminiscent of a designer or merchant talking about a new store layout with improved sightlines, more logical adjacencies and a product assortment finely tuned to appeal to the demographics of the trade area.
In addition to the physical appearance of pages and user functionality, Walmart said its site offers enhanced search and brows capabilities. A larger search box and header is present as users scroll down the page making it easier to use the search feature when it is needed. A new browse menu with improved filters is also said to make it easier for customers to find products.
Lastly, in a nod to Walmart’s extensive physical presence and omnichannel strategy, the company said it enhanced a feature called, “My Local Store,” so more local stores listings are shown. The goal was to simplify the search for local stores and promotional information.
Roughly half of the customers on Walmart.com are seeing the site enhancements, but the changes are rolling out to others this month allowing ample time for shoppers to become familiar with the changes in advance of the holiday season.