One of the most appealing aspects of online shopping, aside from the anonymity of the whole process, is the convenience to the consumer. Online shopping allows for shoppers to avoid the time wasted browsing up and down the aisles looking for specific goods and even allows for them to customize their products of choice. Nowadays, most chain retailers offer online shopping services, though the success of each company varies greatly.
According to government census figures, the value of electronic shopping and e-commerce sales between 2007 and 2008 totaled about $222,464 million. The decision makers at Wal-Mart, however, have made some not-so-slight modifications to their business plans. Instead of delivering the products to your home from a warehouse, customers will have the opportunity to shop for in-store inventory at specific store locations then pick up the selected items on-site. If the selected products are not available at the store location of your choice, then they may be shipped to that store for free. In fact, you will be texted—if you so desire—when your order is ready to be picked up. I think that this is a brilliant example of corporate America adapting to technology and participating in the phenomenon of constant connectivity.
Wal-Mart has been testing the program since October in about 750 stores to successful results and is planned to include about 40,000 items. I believe that this system will largely be successful so long as Wal-Mart approaches the marketing aspect of it in a way that promotes efficiency. So long as the consumer believes that participating in this program will save them time—and perhaps even money—then the company can rest assured that online sales will increase.
Wal-Mart’s in-store traffic, however, has been declining over the last few quarters, and this move is believed to partly be aimed at reversing that trend, as consumers will be picking up their packages at Wal-Mart stores and might be inclined to do some more shopping while they’re in the vicinity.