Walmart updates app with in-store features
Walmart is making it easier for customers to plan their in-store shopping trips.
The discount giant is updating its mobile app with new services designed to streamline the in-store shopping experience. All upgrades will be featured through a feature called Store Assistant, which will be activated when customers walk in the door.
The new services include list-building capabilities that enable customers create shopping lists, and real-time access to stock availability — as well as product location — at a customer’s local store. It also calculates the cost of the shopping list.
The app also features “Store Maps,” a service the serves up maps unique to each of the chain’s 4,700 stores, as well as the aisle and shelf location of specific merchandise. The feature is already available for a handful of stores, and will be rolled out chainwide. It also highlights specific store departments, as well as operating hours and phone numbers.
The additions augment other features added last year, such as a prescription refill tool and the ability to wire money. In November, Walmart also added Mobile Express Returns, which enables online customers to begin the returns process in their app before even heading to their local store.
“We’re building a shopping tool unlike any other in retail – and one that makes virtually every element of the store shopping experience faster and more convenient,” said Daniel Eckert, senior VP, Walmart services and digital acceleration. “We’re excited about the Walmart app updates we’re launching this week, but we’re even more excited about what’s to come.”
For example, the app will give customers the ability to “drop pins” on a store map — a move that will help them more easily locate specific items on their shopping lists. It will also enable customers to book services — like an oil change — in advance. Walmart is also exploring the integration of artificial intelligence, which will enable the company to automatically create lists for its customers, according to the company blog.
Study: Toys were big play for Amazon in 2017
Toy sales may be stagnated in the United States, yet Amazon’s marketshare continues to grow.
The online giant pulled in an estimated $4.5 billion in U.S. toys sales during 2017. This represents an increase of 12% over 2016, according to One Click Retail’s “Toys On Amazon: 2017 Review” report.
The nation’s largest toy store retailer, Toys “R” Us, declared bankruptcy in 2017 as Amazon’s market share kept growing. The online giant is now responsible for roughly one out of every six dollars spent on toys in America, according to data.
The most disruptive toy categories of 2017 — and those that will likely be trending for 2018 — include:
• Robotics. In 2017, the robotic toys category grew by 32%. Although it is a relatively small category with only $50 million in estimated sales, last year’s two bestselling toys were both intelligent robots for kids: Cozmo by Anki and Lego Mindstorms EV3.
• Active Play. The fastest-growing toy category of 2017 was outdoor & sports toys with 46% growth. This is the countertrend to touchscreen technologies that tend to dominate the toy industry, and suggests that parents are making an effort to encourage more physical activity, according to the study.
However, toy sales during January on Amazon.com uncovered a surprising trend: the return of traditional toys. The latest craze is a new take on a traditional doll, L.O.L Surprise! (big version), which ranks as the top toy for January 2018. This helped drive 23% growth in dolls/girls toys in 2017.
In 2017, infant/preschool climbed from No. 3 to become Amazon’s largest toy category with $650 million in estimated sales. As Amazon’s core demographic, millennials, are now having children, the Infant/Preschool category is expected to grow substantially in 2018, according to One Click Retail.
“Of the top five toys on Amazon this January, four are strictly non-digital, and none involve robotics or touchscreen technologies.” said Nathan Rigby, VP at One Click Retail. “Whether this signals a major shift in the toys market or is just a temporary lull in the dominance of robotics and screens is yet to be determined.”
Report: Amazon Prime lead will spend time with Whole Foods team
Amazon is taking another step to integrate its business within Whole Foods Markets.
Greg Greeley, VP of Amazon Prime and delivery experience, will be spending more of his time at Whole Foods. His role: he will primarily focus on making Amazon Prime a major part of Whole Foods’ customer rewards program, according to CNBC.
It’s unclear if Greeley’s title will change, or whether his appointment will affect Whole Foods CEO John Mackey’s role, the report said.
The announcement comes on the heels of Amazon launching two-hour deliveries of Whole Foods groceries through its Prime Now service. The program is currently available in four markets, but will expand during 2018.
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