TECHNOLOGY

Walmart goes upscale online—in partnership with Lord & Taylor

BY Deena M. Amato-McCoy

Walmart is looking to appeal to upscale, fashion-minded customers with its new online initiative.

The discount giant, in partnership with Lord & Taylor, is launching a new online store on Walmart.com that will offer more than 125 brands sold by the department store retailer, ranging from Vince Camuto to Tommy Bahama to Miss Selfridge. The new section, which Walmart described as a “flagship store,” will be rolled out in stages during the coming weeks. It will be integrated within Walmart’s redesigned e-commerce site.

“As part of the Walmart.com redesign, and our commitment to establish Walmart.com as a destination for fashion, we recently relaunched our new fashion shopping experience,” said Denise Incandela, head of fashion, Walmart U.S. e-commerce. “The new experience is aligned with how customers shop the category, with editorial elements that inspire customers to browse and buy, and has already generated positive customer response. The next step is the launch of the Lord & Taylor flagship store, which introduces exciting new premium brands to our customers.”

The new online Lord & Taylor store will features clothing for men, women and children, accessories, and jewelry. Customers can shop by category, shop by brand, or draw inspiration from editorial stories, Walmart said. A header saying, “Premium Brands from Lord & Taylor,” will run across each premium brand page to distinguish the store from Walmart’s “everyday” section.

The partnership between the two retailers was announced last November. It comes as Hudson’s Bay Co. is working to turnaround the performance of its 50-store Lord & Taylor division.

“This innovative flagship on Walmart.com is an entirely new model for us and demonstrates the evolution of Lord & Taylor, and our commitment to advancing our digital presence,” said R.J. Cilley, senior VP of digital, Lord & Taylor. “We are excited for the opportunity to serve exponentially more customers with our premium fashion offerings, including our famous dress selection and many stylish brands.”

The Lord & Taylor online flagship also coincides with Walmart’s redesigned website, which features more personalization and specialty experiences. These range from a personalized home page, which showcases the top-selling items in a customer’s location, to specialty shopping experiences, such as Walmart’s digital home shopping experience, which streamlines how customers browse and purchase merchandise across the category.

For a look at the new Lord & Taylor online store, click here.

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Target’s beauty experience gets a digital makeover

BY Deena M. Amato-McCoy

Target is blending its physical and digital beauty experiences.

In effort to streamline how its customers navigate its cosmetics offering, which consists of more than 1,000 brands, Target is testing an augmented reality solution online and through its mobile app. The discounter introduced the Target Beauty Studio, a solution that merges augmented reality, artificial intelligence and real-time facial mapping technology to enable customers to virtually try on makeup.

Customers can also use the technology in-store by using dedicated digital screens in the beauty department. Currently, 10 stores are testing the technology, and more stores will add the solution later this year, according to the company.

Separately, Target is giving shoppers access to its in-store beauty concierge representatives via a new text service that delivers real-time advice, from tracking down a specific product to choosing between two shades of a product. To receive responses from a beauty consultant, customers just text “BeautyChat” to “Target” (827492).

Taking this service one step further, the discounter is preparing to launch an online beauty chat service. As customers browse Target’s cosmetics or skin care pages, a chat icon will be displayed. By clicking on the icon, customers can type their question and a beauty consultant will provide answers in real time.
“When it comes to shopping beauty, our guests love to explore,” said Christina Hennington, senior VP of beauty and essentials at Target. “With the introduction of these new initiatives, which blend physical and digital to create an enhanced experience, we’re giving Target’s guests even more convenient options to find the perfect beauty items for their unique needs.”

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Walmart pulls the plug on self-checkout app

BY Deena M. Amato-McCoy

Walmart customers can no longer use their smartphones to pay for their order and skip the checkout line.

Despite a successful rollout across its Sam’s Club warehouse chain, Walmart is discontinuing is Scan & Go mobile checkout app across its retail stores. The deciding factor was that too many customers found the process too cumbersome, especially when it came to bagging, weighing and then scanning items, including fresh fruit and vegetables, according to Bloomberg.

The technology was initially introduced in a few select markets, including Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas; Orlando, Florida, and Northwest Arkansas. In January, the discount giant announced that the app would be expanded to 100 stores in 33 states across the country. However, Walmart reported that the app was considered “a test,” according to Ragan Dickens, spokesman for Walmart.

“We’ve completed the test, and will use the information we learned from customers and associates as we continue to create a better, easier shopping experience in our stores and online,” he told Chain Store Age.

While the program will be pulled out of approximately 150 Walmart stores, the service will remain at Sam’s Club, where its usage doubled last year, Sam’s CEO John Furner said in the Bloomberg report.

One potential replacement is the company’s “Check Out With Me” service. The program outfits associates with mobile devices and Bluetooth printers that enable them to check out customers, and provide them with a receipt on the spot. The discount giant is testing mobile technology in its Lawn & Garden Centers across more than 350 stores.

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