On the heels of disappointing fourth quarter e-commerce sales, Walmart has revealed several updates related to the business.
In terms of fulfillment speed and flexibility, executive vice-president of central operations for Walmart U.S. Mark Ibbotson noted during a presentation this week at ShopTalk in Las Vegas that the retailer is rolling out its in-store Pickup Towers for online orders to as many as 650 stores by the end of the year. Whenever possible, the kiosks will be positioned near checkout.
Initial deployments had positive results, with net promoter scores improving greatly for stores with the towers. “We actually found people placing orders just to use it,” Nobotson said.
Meanwhile, Walmart is tweaking the self-serve online grocery pickup kiosk it started testing in Oklahoma last year. The refrigerated kiosk, which was located in a supercentre parking lot, will be integrated into the store, at least in part to avoid condensation problems created by windy weather conditions, Ibbotson revealed. The concept will come to a store in Texas by the end of the year, he said.
The retailer additionally is expanding online grocery pickup to another 1,000 stores to reach more than 2,000 locations by the end of the year (general merchandise is already able to be picked up at all stores), and concurrently plans to roll out same-day delivery to 100 metropolitan areas.
President and chief executive officer of walmart.com Marc Lore also took a turn on stage at ShopTalk in his first public appearance since the release of the company’s latest financial results, with digital sales rising just 23% — less than half of the increases seen in previous quarters. When asked about the deceleration of e-commerce sales, he brushed off the dip and said Walmart would stay the course and “keep doing what we’re doing.”
Lore said Walmart and Jet.com would continue to operate as separate business units, and indicated that the retailer would continue to acquire digital brands while also incubating its own as it did with the recently launched Allswell mattress and bedding brand — a low repeat purchase but high order value category.
A version of this article appeared at ShopperMarketingMag.com.