Walmart’s jump on a shorter holiday season taps technology to drive sales across channels

In light of the shortened holiday season this year — there are six fewer days to shop than last year with Thanksgiving landing on November 28 — Walmart is getting a head-start on its holiday marketing strategy. The company dropped prices on a number of items beginning on Friday and is launching multiple technology tools to help consumers shop for holiday gifts.

Why we should care

In addition to the headstart on holiday deals, one of the biggest shifts in retail is in giving consumers more ways to shop.

Walmart’s technology-enabled holiday shopping options are aimed at saving consumers time through personalization, faster delivery and more in-store and mobile capabilities. They include:

  • Personalized gift recommendations. A Gift Finder tool curates gift ideas based on 40 different types of gift recipients and price range.
  • Mobile shopping: A scannable toy catalog, launching November 1 in the Walmart app, will enable consumers to shop the company’s seasonal toy catalog from their phones.
  • In-store options: DotCom Store and “Check out with me” services are expanding to all Walmart Supercenters. “Check out with me” lets customers check out with an associate and avoid cashier lines. DotCom Store allows shoppers to place online orders in stores and have the items shipped to their homes.
  • Next-day delivery battle. To compete with Amazon, Walmart’s free one-day delivery is available for hundreds of thousands of items. It’s now being offered free without a membership fee, unlike Amazon, which is offering one-day shipping for Prime members on many items.

Walmart and other retailers’ jump on the holiday season is an indication that the shopping cycle could look different than in year’s past. Consumers are also indicating they’ll be shopping earlier this season, according to a Deloitte survey, which found that holiday shopping is expected to peak in early to mid-December. With six fewer shopping days than last year, marketers should be rolling out holiday deals now.

More on the news

  • To drive shoppers into stores, Walmart is launching “retailtainment events” around this year’s Pokemon, Star Wars, Frozen movies.
  • Best Buy is also offering free next day delivery on thousands of items to kick off its holiday shopping season.
  • Target announced it was investing $50 million to increase employee hours and training during the coming weeks to prepare for this year’s holiday season.

About The Author

Amy Gesenhues is a senior editor for Third Door Media, covering the latest news and updates for Marketing Land, Search Engine Land and MarTech Today. From 2009 to 2012, she was an award-winning syndicated columnist for a number of daily newspapers from New York to Texas. With more than ten years of marketing management experience, she has contributed to a variety of traditional and online publications, including MarketingProfs, SoftwareCEO, and Sales and Marketing Management Magazine. Read more of Amy’s articles.

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