Walmart online shopping deals can be found all day, every day, without the need for discount coupons or flash-sale specials.
However, the added value of using select coupons – in addition to the retail giant's customary low pricing – can lead to lead to big savings over time.
Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. has brought its unrivaled depth to the Web, with rapidly-growing consumer engagement on the website.
The whole suite of consumer electronics is available online, and the usual bargain prices have followed right along.
In addition to all the usual strengths of choosing the Walmart online shopping site is the availability of free 2-day shipping on millions of products.
Boatloads of merchandise can be purchased online, with the irresistible perk of having items delivered within 48 hours.
And if you're compelled to add fresh produce to your order, then you can now do so with ease; in most cases, you'll even receive a discount by foregoing delivery and picking up everything from a SuperCenter instead.
This brand synergy alone puts Walmart in arguably the most enviable position in retail, given its massive presence both online and off — a steep hill to climb for those hoping to chip away at its dominance.
Moreover, the ability to shop on the Net for both hard goods and groceries, then make a single trip to your local SuperCenter, distinguishes the Walmart online shopping experience from others.
Not to mention that most brands which also have physical outlets severely limit what they offer for sale online, but Walmart, much to the delight of its millions of customers, does not follow this practice.
In fact, thanks to the growing number of third-party merchants now partnering with the giant, there’s a markedly greater selection of goods for Walmart online shopping to choose from.
And sort of like the 'motor mile' or fast-food effect, having a cluster of related businesses, products, or services in close proximity tends to boost sales for each individual company beyond what it could've generated on its own, and the built-in economies of scale afforded by the internet create even greater opportunities for high-volume platforms like the Walmart online shopping site.
So in the offline world, the beneficiaries of this phenomenon are normally the land/property owners and the merchants, while in the digital space Walmart and the participating brands stand to win.
The former reaps the rewards of merchandise sales commissions, while the latter sees its brand-recognition value rise considerably, thanks to both the exposure on/affiliation with one of the leading commercial operations in the world.
Therefore, opening up the immense Walmart online shopping platform to outside sellers elevates the services listing volume substantially, though there remains a gap in this area with Amazon.
That being said, there's no doubt that Walmart's relentless push into the digital space has gotten the attention of 'the everything store,' as its surprising acquisition of Whole Foods confirms.
But with only a fraction of the physical retail sites Walmart owns, the odds are that it's going to be hard for Amazon/Whole Foods to challenge for supremacy on this front.
Notwithstanding the current challenges with which many of its peers must grapple, the world's largest retailer certainly can't rest on its laurels in this hyper-competitive environment of today, either offline with its SuperCenters or online with its Walmart online shopping network.
There are also early, yet still valid, concerns raised by a number of industry analysts about how broadly WMT can grow into some of the more promising international markets, as cultural norms and native firms are not-so-easy to master or displace as some might think.
So the global outlook for the legendary company is cautiously optimistic, with several pundits taking a more bearish approach to the expansion prospects in the near term.
Alternatively, however, there's a good chance that, within the next 3-5 years, Walmart online shopping will gain much more market share of electronic commerce in general.
This forecast has been made by several industry analysts, who rightly point to the (relatively) easy means by which a brand can expand online, as opposed to the notoriously difficult process of developing retail stores in the 'real world.'
That's one reason why some noteworthy investment shops peg WMT as the better value of the modern retail giants, which is no doubt a nod to its formidable real estate holdings.
But as is always the case, past developments are in no way tied to future performance, so the ever-competitive landscape of consumer goods should be fun to watch over the coming years.
In the early years of its push for e-com relevance, the Walmart online shopping platform was hamstrung by trying to compete with only its own listings.
The company's website was akin to a closed network, to which the corporation itself had exclusive access.
And almost all of the wares offered online closely matched that which could be purchased in your local SuperCenter, so the 'diversity draw' was not very strong at the outset.
What's more is that the e-com supply chain operation had yet to mature adequately to broaden the merchandise base, so limited quantities and lack of variety plagued digital growth in the beginning.
There simply could never be enough distribution centers or warehouse jobs to match the combined inventory of competing services.
So the Walmart online shopping division gradually built up a comprehensive merchant and supplier network which, over time, has led to tangible gains in key areas.
Reaping the fruitful rewards of a well-thought, long-term plan is always more fun than sowing the seeds, and it remains to be seen just how far the brand has come in its e-com operations.
And one thing professional analysts are keen to point out when evaluating digital merchants is that many of them rely heavily on a number of independent actors, and place more value in firms who control a larger share of their entire supply chain.
What's more is that the benefits of centralizing an expansive network of products is that, along with the main-draw items like smartphones and laptops, folks looking to buy electronics accessories are apt to do so concomitantly with their purchase of these larger items.
Furthermore, customers caught on to using free Walmart coupons while consolidating shopping lists filled with general merchandise and groceries.
So that aspect, perhaps more than anything, is why many feel that Walmart online shopping is merely scratching the surface of its retailing capacity.
That may be hard to believe given the scale of retail electronics and household goods it sells, but consider the fact that Grocery is still relatively new, the Webstore has yet to feel the full effect of Jet.com’s acquisition, and selling cars from SuperCenter locations seems imminent.
A more grand and sophisticated marketing strategy has also been deployed by the firm, highlighted by its conspicuous media presence during the CFP (College Footbal Playoffs) last year.
Advertising during large-scale sporting events is an proven tactic to capture the minds of already-loyal customers who may be less familiar with one's brand, so going this route should pay dividends for the Walmart online shopping team.
So the notion that a certain percentage of, say, Georgia Bulldog fans will order their next items from Walmart.com is a plausible one, since the televised ad campaigns serve as de facto endorsements in the eyes of many consumers.
And it's also reasonable to believe that winning teams' fan base, such as those from Alabama, will forever remember the last – or most prominently-featured – commercial they viewed during their squad's victory, and will naturally hold such brands in a favorable light.
What's more is that in addition to the benefits derived from more digital media coverage, Walmart online shopping is expected to increase per the hundreds of new department stores being built around the country, all while Walmart clearance sale enthusiasm it at an all-time high.
Now couple these prospects with the aggressive ad campaigns being run on network television, social media, and strategically on publisher-partner websites, and it's clear to see that Walmart will remain a powerhouse for decades to come.
Moreover, even while the present sales may be encouraging, the fact that there's still far more people who don't have internet access than those who do leaves a huge untapped market to be served.
Because when such massive construction projects like SuperCenter development gets underway, it serves to do more than drum up retail business for the company; it raises the brand's credibility and mystique among the general population of the area.
And the inherent benefits of its physical store growth is unique, as the vast number of department stores serve as effective billboards for the Walmart online shopping revolution.
Current shoppers and passers-by alike are constantly reminded of Walmart.com, its ever-evolving Grocery Service, and the convenient ship-to-store discounts on million of products.
The synergistic marketing effect is predicted to have an even greater impact as additional services are added to the portfolio.
Consumer data shows a strong correlation between a company's top-line growth to the number of repeat customers it has, and repeat business is closely tied to brand innovation and 'freshness.'
Lasting appeal is of utmost importance to corporate heads and investors, so the more a label can position itself as progressive and/or closely allied with its target market, the more likely it is to sell an acceptable amount of its latest products.
Therefore, in our Walmart online shopping case, the brand stands to advance in at least 2 ways: The first is by default of selling some of the leading consumer goods brands in the world, while the second is a result of its highly-acclaimed Great Value merchandise.
Piggybacking off the upward trajectory of both novel goods (i.e., Tide Pods) and staple items (Pepsi and Coke soft drinks) is always of benefit to a retailer, though the more profitable group is its very own private label.
What's more is that, while on a scale and level of sophistication a bit less than AMZ, WMT also benefits from the big data generated by these other (competing) items to boot.
In turn, it can better price and position Great Value merchandise more effectively, in addition to gaining tremendous insight into which wares the firm should seek to offer under its GV brand next.
Thus, if there are any digital retailing trends that are likely to remain positive, then online shopping through Walmart.com is sure to be one of them.
Walmart online shopping for discount electronics and affordable consumer products will become a natural progression for those who currently turn to Walmart optical, tire center, or any its departments in general, as the notion of buying on the internet become reality for more users.
Not to mention, the key metric for e-com merchants is the incremental cost per order, which measures how much more a firm must spend to receive, process, and fulfill – shipping including – a customer's order.
So one of the chief concerns of any e-com service, Walmart online shopping included, is to lower the incremental cost per order while at the same time increasing the total number of orders (revenue) received.
The increases revenue bump is actually more valuable than others because it means that a merchant is either selling more goods per order, or is selling higher-priced items in sufficient quantities to raise the RPO (revenue per order).
As a result, the Walmart online shopping arm has a number of 'pathways to profitability,' able to capture large (if not majority) shares of the budget-oriented population, while still being a leading vendor of branded goods like Charmin, Kraft, and Folgers.
These consumer staple examples are but one of the sectors in which the company can expand – both organically and through partnerships – as consumer technology might be the area in which the greatest gains can be made.
And speaking of tech, Walmart Black Friday deals are forecast to shatter records this year, thanks to a greater emphasis on driving traffic to the online Walmart Electronics section.
Now add to this the fact that Walmart prepaid cards allow myriad shoppers to join the e-com revolution, opening up yet another market base for the company to both engage and do business with.
Also, Walmart online shopping is now offering reduced prices for orders picked up in-store (excluding Hawaii and Alaska), which is a clever move because it'll save the company money on shipping.
The ancillary benefit of having patrons visit a SuperCenter to retrieve their order for, say, paper towels and bar soap, is that it exposes them to other services which remain outside the scope of online shopping, such as the bakery or Money Network department.
So the decided advantage of Walmart is its massive retail footprint, which allows it to advance its own brand exposure while also offering value-add services to its shoppers.
And no matter how large and sprawling e-com distribution centers become, the operations and infrastructure of such render them inaccessible to the general public, ensuring that the traditional Walmart Department Store is still highly relevant in today's world.
All this adds up to a sizeable competitive advantage for WMT in general and, specifically, its Walmart online shopping branch, as purley digital retailers continue to wrestle with high freight and delivery expenses, particularly those that offer free shipping incentives.
What's more is that shoppers of all stripes are beginning to view Walmart in a much different light than before.
Historically known as the leading discount shopping in the land, contemporary management is making an earnest push to diversify its already-grand base of consumers.
Luxury, higher-end, and specialty goods have recently been added to the Walmart online shopping catalog, as fresh acquisitions and partnerships have augmented the classic merchandise on the website.
In addition to its own expansive retail inventory, Walmart.com has also grown into a solid media and affiliate sales channel.
By leveraging is massive platform and dedicated customer base, the Arkansas-domiciled company can bolster its bottom line in several ways.
For one, opening up vast swaths of digital real estate for select merchants to advertise on provides an additional revenue stream for the business.
And while do this may seem counterintuitive to some, the move is actually quite strategic and effective for the greater good of the Walmart online shopping operation.
The reason being is that studies have shown that a considerable percentage of digital customers are somewhat immune to ads of all kinds, posing a direct challenge not only to the manufacturers and purveyors looking to sell their goods, but to the internet marketing professionals who depend on advertising revenue to stay afloat.
Thus, in order for Walmart online shopping and other brands to better gain the attention of internet patrons, a steadfast commitment must be made to both spend money and optimize the way in which browsers see/interact with online ads.
So while they may not respond to, say, virtual banners for grocery items, the mere presence of certain perks might remind readers of something(s) they already intended to buy.
The tremendous upside to that someone who's presently on the Walmart online shopping site would be, on average, more inclined to complete the purchase there than to do so on a competing website.
Thus, the company benefits by either capturing those motivated shoppers on its own platform, or being paid advertising dollars should a browser elect to pursue the channels of a competitor.
Even then, however, WMT generates revenue as a publisher at that point, similar to how millions of website owners do via Google AdWords and others.
Allowing other manufacturers and merchants to sell on its Walmart online shopping portal also helps with its own marketing initiatives, thanks to the storehouse of consumer shopping/pricing data generated by the additional sales transactions.
If nothing more, understanding better how modern shoppers search for, evaluate, and purchase various goods assists in the development of winning strategies, whether being for laundry detergent or cereal.
So opening up its borders, so to speak, is a beneficial avenue for the company, and will only serve to enhance the Walmart online shopping experience for years to come.
As touched on in our previous section on some of the nuances of the Walmart online shopping service, shipping accounted for such high costs for its chief competitor that it took drastic steps to reduce them by establishing its own logistics division.
But even with the presumed savings from this move, the expenses remain significant, as outside contractors are used to handle the last-mile delivery — the most expensive leg in the supply chain.
That being said, the independent contractor arrangement still saves Amazon money, since the cost of unionized – e.g., UPS, USPS, FedEx – labor is higher than that of contractors.
Either way, this 'logistics conundrum' highlights the superior position Walmart holds over their digital counterparts, as conventional employees are accustomed to receiving more responsibility without corresponding pay raises.
A case in point is how select retail employees have been asked to deliver groceries (and more) to Walmart online shopping customers who've chosen this option during checkout.
It’s not yet known whether these employees are compensated at a premium for doing so, and the issues of both insurance coverage and overtime pay are potential sticking points in the future.
But in these early stages of the Grocery Service, it’s clear that the Walmart online shopping team is keen on staying ahead of its rivals — a goal that's strongly supported by SuperCenters around the country.
Everything from regional buying habits to the most optimal pricing structure(s) funnels through these retail sites, offering an in-depth look into the general minds of contemporary shoppers.
Mixing and matching of various clothing lines, bathroom linens, and household cleaning products are but a few instances in which data from department store transactions can augment the corporate database.
Therefore, it's no doubt that the multiplicity of options and benefits afforded the brand through its offline stores cannot be overstated.
That's because the unique ability to test everything from new products to ground-breaking services provides Walmart online shopping executives with some of the most valuable insights possible.
And while a standard internet merchant relies exclusively on digital surveys and focus groups to help guide its business, Walmart can both test and implement winning strategies more cheaply.
Think of it in terms of stock investing and how a would-be player tracks his progress.
An impressive record of making good decisions may lead to 'paper profits,' which may serve only to create false confidence in result.
There are simply too many variables that go into allocations, with human judgment (emotion) vexing many who have real money in the game.
And the same holds true for the retail business, whether being digital outfits like the Walmart online shopping website, mom & pop boutiques, or national chain stores.
Marketing research plays a key role in wise decision-making, though nothing tells the story better than real-life consumer behavior, tracked most effectively by authentic transactions and transference of funds.
The point to all this is that, without the inestimable benefit of leveraging SuperCenter Department Stores as feedback loops, key Walmart online shopping initiatives would be far less proven, and thus, considerably more risky for the brand.
Up until just a few short years ago, the Achilles Heel of shopping online with Walmart was its paltry selection of products.
Every day low prices were always available, but the relatively small number of wares served to deter customers from frequenting Walmart.com.
The abbreviated online catalog could be attributed to many factors, with corporate philosophy being one of them.
Basically, the general sense of the consumer market was that the Walmart online shopping experience was akin to buying an Apple Electronics product in the 90s — it was an all-or-nothing proposition.
The analogical connection between the two brands is that Walmart, like Apple, was unwilling to open its platform to outsiders, thus limiting the variety of options available to its customers.
So if that which you were shopping for wasn't sold in its department stores, then you weren't going to find it on Walmart.com either.
In result, the sales growth for the digital commerce division underwhelmed for years, while some of its competitors' numbers soared.
And after careful analysis, a philosophical reset, and a better understanding of consumer paradigms, a tectonic shift in the way customers viewed Walmart online shopping took place.
Most notable of these changes was the expansion of third-party merchants which could offer their products on Walmart.com
This improvement alone began to resonate almost immediately with online shoppers, as they could now find a wider selection of goods on the website.
No longer was it necessary to fill dozens of virtual shopping carts in your quest for the right products at the right prices, as the odds were now favorable that one could visit the 'online SuperCenter' for most anything.
And similar to how competing restaurants or car dealerships do better by clustering together in a given location, the results bear out similarly online.
By adding to its product lines and merchandising categories, the Walmart online shopping department increased both its exposure and acceptance amongst consumers.
These positive trends are likely to continue into the future, as more and more sellers offer their goods on the platform.
And as shopping algorithms evolve along with the advancements in artificial intelligence, targeted (dynamic) pricing and customized recommendations will become more sophisticated as well.
Though while some merchants may be leery of passing on so much information to a potential competitor, the leading argument is that, in general, all but a few types of consumer brands – especially (ultra)luxury names – benefit from the win-win-win arrangement.
Walmart online shopping customers win by having a broad selection of products from which to choose, while the 3rd-party providers benefit from the global marketing and brand recognition of Walmart.
In turn, the retail giant reaps the rewards of an increasingly-satisfied customer base, while capitalizing on fees and cross-selling opportunities for its owned goods.
In addition to the many other benefits of shopping online with Walmart, to customers, affordably-priced merchandise is the most coveted of all.
The Walmart online shopping concept is built upon the decades-old retailing approach of its department store counterparts.
Walmart, Inc. has for years worked diligently to establish itself as the undisputed 'king of discount shopping,' and to contradict this reputation would have been ill-advised at best.
So even while robust annual growth was elusive in the early years of the website, one of the strongest aspects of its digital efforts was the overall strength and recognition of its brand.
Consumer marketing surveys underscored this quality, as did relatively solid traffic to the Walmart online shopping site over the years.
And it was partly due to these divergent aspects — favorable brand feedback vs. sub-optimal conversion rates — that led to the various innovations we've recently seen from the company.
What's more is that glowing appreciation for another of Walmart's brand staples (every day low prices) made clear that this was the foremost driver of repeat business and consumer loyalty.
Survey after survey has revealed that more than anything, Walmart online shopping customers value the reliability of the company's pricing structure, and consistent buyers rarely shop anywhere other than a Walmart-branded outlet.
Other insights gleaned from similar studies show that, even while patrons welcome 'RollBack' specials, they place far more stock in knowing that, no matter what time/which day/where they shop, the costs of goods will be the same.
The psychological aspects of this strategy is one that fosters a sense of default shopping habits, wherein consumers automatically turn to Walmart for their goods.
If nothing more, buyers value the time-saving notion of making template grocery lists when planning an in-store visit, while Walmart online shopping patrons can quickly duplicate previous orders or individually add items from their saved list of essentials.
In short, the key to maintaining + growing its broad base of consumers are the everyday low prices on which so many users rely, in addition to building upon its stance as a socially- and environmentally-conscious brand.
Another pitch that resonates with some Walmart online shopping customers is that they feel a genuine sense of loyalty to the firm for, as some see it, steadfastly fighting for better deals from manufacturers, and then passing the savings on to consumers.
Surveys have shown that a considerable number of shoppers feel that most retail merchants could offer lower prices should they choose, yet forego the opportunity in favor of higher profits.
So even as most Walmart online shopping buyers turn to the internet as a matter of necessity, there's still a notable percentage who select their merchant (in part) based on a support for/belief in the manner in which it conducts business.
Maintaining continuity across its neighborhood and SuperCenter outlets was one the original pillars on which the brand the stood, and a concerted effort was made to near perfectly replicate the in-store experience on its website.
At every turn — from the color schemes to department-store-like fonts — Walmart online shopping customers are constantly reminded of the firm's 'brand of one.'
Whether you're browsing for new tread in the virtual tire department or making an appointment for glasses or contact lenses in the Walmart Vision Center, pains have been taken to ensure that the entire experience seems familiar.
And in fact, given the potent correlation between in-store and online consumer tendencies, the case can be made that shoppers who have had prior contact with an offline Walmart store feel a greater sense of loyalty (connection) to the company.
Furthermore, in my opinion, the tremendous breadth of the online/offline network is barely scratching the surface of its potential.
Take for instance the industry reports on Walmart's exploration of selling cars – in addition to its customary hoard of consumer goods – at its SuperCenters in the future.
And to tap into the huge digital pool of car buyers, Walmart online shopping customers would presumably be able to add the latest Ford F-150 or Toyota Camry to their weekly Grocery Cart as well.
Going beyond the pioneering notion of vehicle sales, one can easily fathom a world in which regional SuperCenters competed directly with Home Depot and Lowe's, with full-service home improvement departments to capture some of the avid DIY market share worldwide.
Movie theaters, bowling alleys, and even 24-hour fitness centers may become synergistic components of SuperCenters of the future, as the company no doubt has the (financial, development, experiential) capacity to execute such a plan.
The chief limiting factor, in most feats of this scale, are land-resource and planning-based, though it's not infeasible to picture at least a few of the 'mini-cities' in select metro areas in the U.S.
Whatever may unfold with the aspirations of the business, one can be sure that catering to both present and prospective Walmart online shopping customers will be central to the success of any new initiatives.
Thanks to the ongoing improvements to the Walmart online shopping program, it's now easier than ever to take advantage of the brand's comprehensive portfolio of services.
And speaking of portfolios, the multinational retailer has made a big splash in the financial services world, with its successful creation of the Walmart Money Network.
Consumers of all backgrounds have turned to any number of the Walmart-branded financial products, including the ever-popular MoneyCard.
Although exact figures relating to how the Money Network has contributed to rising Walmart online shopping volume are unavailable, various data make compelling inferences supporting a strong connection between the two.
A firm's 'brand of one' is certainly not a novel consideration, though only a handful in the world truly have the requisite clout to garner support on name recognition alone.
But if any brand were to be well-positioned to do just that, then WMT Stores is likely one of them, in part because of how compatible a financial services branch is to its core business.
The rationale for why a standalone credit, payment, and checking network would bolster the appeal of Walmart online shopping ads is solid, as a larger pool of consumers who may be otherwise limited in their digital payment options now have ways to overcome their cash-only obstacles and start doing business with Walmart.com.
And it's well known within the digital media and marketing field that the majority of customers who choose not to execute transactions on the internet are, overwhelmingly, leery of electronic payment systems and of the entities which oversee them.
So it's no small feat that WMT has added consistently to its cadre of users, and reflects highly on its marketing and branding affairs, of which Walmart online shopping promotion is a central focus.
This is partly due to the general consumer class generally that regularly gives Walmart good grades in areas such as being trustworthy and fair, which helps separate the company from others in the fiercely-competitive credit market.
So in conjunction with the technological and philosophical changes introduced over the years, one of the lesser-known contributors to the Walmart online shopping trend is the convenience with which the Money Network makes e-com accessible to all.
Furthermore, there are also other branches of Walmart, Inc. that facilitate the realization of its corporate objectives, many of which are not typically advertised to the masses; at the end of the day, though, each aspect is more or less a spoke in the proverbial wheel of its larger financial goals.
Moreover, the lion's share of the publicly-visible ways in which both the Walmart online shopping website and the portfolio of retail stores complement each other can be found in, well, these latter destinations across the globe.
The similarities of the online/offline dynamic are striking, as Walmart.com is gradually looking like a mirror image of a SuperCenter, with all the requisite departments thereof.
For some patrons, however, the online design and layout may seem questionable, given that one would be hard-pressed to conduct an oil change online.
But for others with a keener eye toward brand strategy and marketing see the benefits of purchasing in-store or choosing Walmart online shopping for their buying needs, as the general savings and product selection continues to seek parity among the two channels.
What's more is that the company is integrating a seamless, cross-device process that supports customers who want to schedule appointments/initiate services on a smartphone or computer, rather than having to physically visit a department store for these administrative tasks.
In result, Walmart online shopping crowds can find an expansive catalog of services that can be booked right from home, making a quick trip to the nearest store both pleasant and hassle-free.
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