TECHNOLOGY

Walmart launches new digital tools, services for back-to-school

BY Deena M. Amato-McCoy

Walmart is gearing up for the second biggest shopping season of the year.

The discount giant on Wednesday unveiled new online tools designed to ease the back-to-school shopping experience for parents, teachers and students. Among the new initiatives, Walmart is now featuring dedicated school supply lists within its mobile app. Last year, the discount giant’s website debuted TeachersLists, a centralized location where teachers can upload supply lists. This year, parents can access the lists on Walmart’s mobile app, as well.

By entering their ZIP code, customers can pinpoint their child’s individual classroom list or access a general grade supplies list. The app also pinpoints the store aisle for each item. Customers can also use the app to locate all available school supplies and brands at store-level.

Walmart is also debuting a service that helps teachers stock up on classroom supplies. Walmart’s Teacher Shop, a dedicated section online and in more than 2,100 stores, features classroom décor and supplies, including stickers, reward charts, dry erase boards and markers, among other essentials.

The retailer has also doubled the assortment of back-to-school and college products available during the season, with everything available for buy-online-pickup-in-store. Back-to-school staples are eligible for Walmart’s increasingly expanding Online Grocery Pickup shopping service, and a majority of back-to-class items are also available for free two-day shipping on orders over $35 without a membership fee, according to Walmart.

The discounter kicked off its back-to-school season with the introduction of its newly launched Buy the Room feature, a service that allows customers to add a group of items to their online shopping cart, and buy a complete look. Initially, the service will highlight dorm living, and feature five curated collections. Each room will feature up to 20 of the most popular items college students need to outfit their living space.

Buy the Room is an extension of Walmart’s new digital home furnishings shopping experience. This is one of many elements featured on Walmart’s redesigned website, which was introduced in February.

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