Walmart introduces new search for web site and app

Walmart redesigned its website and app to encourage shoppers to browse and buy more.


WalmartThe digital shop has a new look.

Starting this week, all customers browsing the company’s website and app will see larger and glossier photos, videos, and social media-inspired content that Walmart hopes will lead to more purchases.

Tom Ward, Walmart’s chief e-commerce officer, said the goal is to make online shopping easier and more engaging.

“When you walk into a store, you are inspired and excited by what you see,” he said. “And so we thought, ‘How do you drive that same inspiration and excitement into our closest store — our app?'”

The major retailer’s online makeover comes as consumers grow hesitant to buy any goods like clothing and consumer electronics while paying higher prices for essentials like groceries and housing. Sales of discretionary general merchandise in the U.S. are down 4% year over year in dollars and 5% in units since February, according to Circana, the merged market research firm formerly known as The NPD Group and IRI.

Walmart felt it too. In recent quarters, sales have increasingly come from groceries rather than general merchandise. Walmart’s CFO John David Rainey told CNBC in February that consumers’ more price-conscious mentality had an impact on the company’s prospects for this year.

Walmart expects weaker sales in the coming months. It expects Walmart US same-store sales to rise between 2% and 2.5% excluding fuel in the coming fiscal year. The company expects adjusted earnings per share for the fiscal year to be between $5.90 and $6.05, excluding fuel.

That would mark a decline from last fiscal year, when same-store sales for Walmart US rose 6.6% and adjusted earnings per share were $6.29, excluding fuel.

Ward acknowledged that “there’s a lot of conversation going on right now about wants and needs.” He said Walmart not only wants to offer low prices, but also to grab customers’ attention by bringing them fresh, trendy, and seasonal items like spring dresses, patio furniture, and Easter basket toys.

He said the new look of the site and app could also boost sales from third-party retailers that have joined or may join Walmart’s marketplace. In addition to selling its own wares, Walmart has the playbook of riffelt Amazon B. by using a third-party marketplace to expand its range of items online and making money by selling fulfillment services.

E-commerce has become a more important part of Walmart’s business, especially after a push sparked by the Covid pandemic. Online sales accounted for about $53.4 billion — or nearly 13% — of Walmart US’s total net sales for its fiscal year that ended in late January, according to the company. That’s a jump of $15.7 billion, or about 5% of all Walmart US net sales in 2019.

Online sales for Walmart US grew 17% year over year for the holiday quarter and 12% year over year for the full fiscal year.

The retailer is expected to present its latest guidance and strategy at an investor day in Tampa, Fla. this week.

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