Inside Walmart Canada's new app

Mobile overtakes desktop as the largest source of traffic to Walmart digital properties

Walmart Canada has launched a new online shopping app that allows customers to make lists of favourite items, browse flyers, scan barcodes and read product reviews and get Rollback alerts.

Available for iPhone and Android, the app had more than 30,000 downloads in its first week of availability last week and an average rating of 4.4 out of five on Google Play.

“The importance of mobile is absolutely growing. We’ve known that for a long time,” says Rick Neuman, executive vice president of technology and e-commerce at Walmart Canada.

He notes that over the last month mobile has for the first time overtaken desktop as the largest source of traffic to Walmart digital properties. “It’s clear that mobile’s becoming the dominant way that customers want to interact with us.”

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The app is connected to consumers’ profiles making it possible to start a transaction on the computer and continue it on a mobile device.

It also allows customers to arrange grocery pickups of online grocery orders in the more than 25 Greater Toronto Area and 10 Ottawa area stores that currently provide the service.

Neuman says Walmart is looking at expanding grocery pickups and bringing the service to other markets. “We’re planning to roll it out as aggressively as we can.” But “I don’t know that it will reach every store in the near future. It’s very operationally taxing to get the right level of service.”

There are about 10,000 grocery items available online compared with about 20,000 to 30,000 SKUs in the average store’s grocery section.

He says Walmart is examining how it can increase its online assortment “while maintaining the efficiencies that we need to be able to get your groceries and have them ready for you by the time you arrive at the store.”

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So far, the app’s most popular feature is the favourites list, Neuman says, that makes it easier for shoppers who buy products regularly. When people are grocery shopping “you’re not talking about one or two products you’re talking about 40 to 50 products,” he notes.

The app does not currently include Walmart Pay, a feature now available in U.S. Walmart stores that lets customers use their phones to charge a credit, debit or Walmart gift card linked with the account.

But “I’d love to bring that kind of experience to Canadians who shop in our stores,” Neuman says. “It’s something that I really enjoyed when I tried the experience in the U.S. It was very fast, very convenient and really made that final payment process seamless and easy.”

No date has been set for Walmart Pay’s availability in Canada.

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