Wal­mart gives its web­site a makeover

Bangkok Post - - BUSINESS -

CHICAGO: Wal­mart Inc, the world’s largest brick-and-mor­tar re­tailer, said yes­ter­day that it has made ex­ten­sive changes to its web­site, bet­ting that a cleaner, more mod­ern wal­mart.com will help it win mar­ket share from Ama­zon.com Inc.

Wal­mart, which an­nounced in Oc­to­ber that it was re­design­ing its web­site, has been in­vest­ing heav­ily in its e-com­merce busi­ness and us­ing its more than 4,700 US stores to make it eas­ier to shop on­line.

The Bentonville, Arkansas-based com­pany has been let­ting shop­pers pick up and re­turn on­line or­ders in stores, and said in March that it planned to ex­pand its gro­cery home de­liv­ery ser­vices to reach more than 40% of US house­holds.

The changes, to take ef­fect at the start of May, will in­clude a wider range of colours, fonts and more in­for­mal pho­tographs. The re­tailer de­clined to com­ment on the to­tal cost of the re­design.

The last time Wal­mart up­dated its web­site was in 2014, but the changes were not as dra­matic, Wal­mart spokes­woman Danit Mar­quardt said.

“Wal­mart’s new home­page will be per­son­alised to cus­tomers’ lo­ca­tions, al­low­ing them to buy prod­ucts that are trend­ing in their towns and see which of these on­line ser­vices their lo­cal stores pro­vide,’’ Marc Lore, the head of Wal­mart’s e-com­merce busi­ness, said in an in­ter­view on Mon­day.

He also said the web­site would soon have dif­fer­ent lay­outs de­pend­ing on prod­uct cat­e­gories, al­low­ing cus­tomers to shop for gro­ceries dif­fer­ently from how they buy clothes and ac­ces­sories, or home im­prove­ment prod­ucts.

Lore said these changes had been well­re­ceived by the web­site’s brands, which will have more space and dif­fer­ent ways to ad­ver­tise.

Re­tail­ers, in­clud­ing Ama­zon and Alibaba Group Hold­ing Ltd, of­ten give brands space on their web­sites to in­crease e-com­merce traf­fic and boost on­line as­sort­ments.

“We can see from the re­search that it’s go­ing to ap­peal to cus­tomers,” Lore said.

Wal­mart said in Fe­bru­ary that on­line sales in­creased 23% in the most re­cent quar­ter, less than half the rate of growth in each of the pre­vi­ous three quar­ters.

The com­pany posted about $11.5 bil­lion in US e-com­merce rev­enue for the full year. To­tal US sales were $318.5 bil­lion.

The slow­ing on­line sales growth raised con­cerns among an­a­lysts that the re­tailer might be un­able to keep pace with Ama­zon.

Com­pany of­fi­cials said at the time that Wal­mart was still on track to in­crease its e-com­merce sales by 40% this year.

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