TECHNOLOGY

Walmart in major revamp of online baby registry

BY Dan Berthiaume

Walmart is ramping up its efforts to attract new parents — and fill the void left by the exit of Babies “R” Us — with a digital overhaul of its baby registry.

The upgrade is focused on enhanced integration of Walmart’s baby registry services with its consumer app. For example, registrants can initiate returns online, add items in-store, share the registry with friends and family, and use Siri to open the registry. Meanwhile, gift-givers can use the app to shop the registry, search for in-store availability, and scan a store receipt to mark items as purchased.

To enhance the personalization of its registry, Walmart is introducing a chatbot named “Hoo the Owl” that conversationally asks parents a series of questions such as due date, gender (or gender-neutral), state, and preferred nursery theme. Based on the answers, Hoo pre-populates the registry with items personalized to baby’s gender and the registrant’s preferred nursery theme. For example, a customer selecting a “modern grey” nursery theme may have a grey infant car seat automatically placed on their list.

In the coming months, Hoo will ask additional questions, such as organic and sustainable product preferences. Timed to the launch of the registry, Walmart is introducing four new nursery themes – woodland, modern options for baby boy and baby girl, and a gender-neutral option. These nursery themes join boho chic, modern grey and classic options for baby boy and baby girl, for a total of eight themes to choose from.

“We want to be there for mom and dad with everything they are looking for, and through experiences that make shopping for those items easy and fun,” Lauren Uppington, VP and GM, baby, Walmart U.S. e-commerce, said in a corporate blog post announcing the upgraded registry.

Over the last year, Walmart has expanded its baby assortment in addition to enhancing the shopping experience, which includes a remodeled baby department in more than 2,000 stores and a new shopping destination on Walmart.com that helps parents shop curated nursery design styles. In February 2019, the discount giant launched Hello Bello, a line of organic baby products backed by Hollywood celebrity couple Kristen Bell and Dax Shepard. Walmart says more enhancements to its shopping experience for parents of babies are coming.

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