Walmart.com in-store kiosks blend online and offline commerce
Walmart have noticed some interesting customer behaviour – when they cant find something they want to buy in store, they’re using the display laptops and tablets to make a purchase online from Walmart.com. Some used the devices instore because they simply prefer a big screen compared to their smartphone. Others didn’t have a smart device with them. Either way, they were making online purchases instore so Walmart decided to make it simple for them with Walmart.com in-store kiosks.
The solution launched in just five stores almost a year ago and has since grown to 50 locations. Each of these stores has 1-2 kiosks, usually near customer service or the electronics department. The kiosks allow customers to shop all products on Walmart.com, pay how they want – even cash, if they like – and ship it to store or their home.
There is a kicker though, if you’re a marketplace merchant then your products won’t appear on the Walmart.com in-store kiosks, the only products available are those sold by Walmart themselves.
It wouldn’t be surprising if Walmart had also got annoyed with customers using their display laptops and iPads to purchase from competitors, but by making the Walmart.com in-store kiosks available they are instantly lessening the chances of losing an in-store customer to a competitors website.
Walmart are also extending the in-store tech to their customer facing staff’s handheld computers so that they can help customers make online purchases from anywhere in the store. They already use a handheld device for their daily tasks, so a new app was added that allows them to assist customers with Walmart.com merchandise on the spot. They can even take payment straight away and print a receipt so that there is no need to go through checkout.
Walmart say that no every store will get Walmart.com in-store kiosks, but they will roll out the service to handheld devices in every store so that staff can assist customers.
It’s great to see a retailer blending online and offline shopping seamlessly, but blocking third party inventory from Walmart merchants on their Walmart.com in-store kiosks is somewhat limiting… but then there are still the laptops and tablets in the Walmart electonics department if you wish to shop from another retailer…