According to recent reports, Walmart’s e-commerce site is up for a whole “new do,” which includes saying bon-voyage to the big blue banner. Many retail influencers are saying the website rebuild is Walmart’s attempt to narrow the company’s e-commerce sales gap with the reigning competitor, Amazon. This has us wondering, will it work?
When the curtain falls in May, the new and improved Walmart.com will definitely have more sophistication than its predecessor. “The retailer plans to redesign the site next month by decluttering the product listings, de-emphasizing the Walmart name and using a lot less bright blue,” says Sarah Nassauer, a Journalist for the Wall Street Journal. “Executives say the goal is to make a site that appeals to higher-end brands and encourages shoppers to browse for products.”
This isn’t the first time Walmart has tried tip-toeing out of its familiar discount territory. In November of 2017, Walmart partnered with Lord & Taylor for an online “flagship.” Although Lord & Taylor still isn’t performing nearly as well as its main competitor, Neiman Marcus, the company has been on a steady upswing of sales in recent quarters. “The new Walmart site will include a Lord & Taylor department-store landing page, where some of that chain’s goods will be sold as part of a partnership between the retailers announced last year,” says Nassauer.
“Although Lord & Taylor and other high-ticket brands may partner with the retail giant in light of these e-commerce updates, Walmart still has a 100-year history of offering the ‘lowest possible prices,’” says Katy Albrecht, Publishing Editor for Off-Price Retailing Magazine. “For many domestic consumers, that long history as a discounted retailer will be a tough brand image to shake. Shoppers already know what to expect from Walmart, and many up-scale brands may see a partnership as a detrimental mismatch to their own image.”
However, Walmart.com will make some healthy changes that all retailers can learn from. Images with sterile white backgrounds and picture-perfect table settings without any guests are common on the current site. Walmart will do a little brand updating in the new version for a warmer look. “It’s cleaner, with more modern fonts, and it features what Walmart calls ‘relatable photography,’ otherwise known as humans doing human things,” Dani Deahl, a Contributor for The Verge. “It’s definitely a step up from its current potato website, which feels not unlike an interactive Sunday circular.”
As we’ve seen in the last year, more brands are (rightly!) ramping up their efforts to offer personalized experiences. Walmart is also jumping on-board, and offering online users a catered shopping experience. “This will include best-selling items in a customer’s location and a profile for your local Walmart,” says Deahl. “Here, the site will let you know if certain services are available, like online grocery, and your order status.”
“With a brand so widely known as Walmart, successfully changing consumer perceptions won’t be easy,” says Albrecht. “But the retailer is taking action where many failed companies have fallen short—making improvements to match consumer demands for personalization and curated experiences online and in-store.”
Doing some clean-up on your own website or brand this spring? Incorporate current fashions and competitively-priced products from the OFFPRICE Show into your makeover, June 11-12 in New York City, and August 11-14 in Las Vegas.
Image courtesty of Walmart.