Walmart’s ‘Endless Toy Aisle’ Concept: Why This May Be a Godsend for Consumers
In a move to keep pace with e-tailer giant Amazon, Walmart has expanded their e-commerce capabilities in the US, by testing an “endless aisle” concept. Roll out of this technology is happening throughout stores across different countries, but in Texas they are focusing on the kids toys aisle specifically. While shopping, consumers can skip the scanning of aisle items and head straight to a screen to browse. The technology allows the shopper (parent or child) to find exactly what they are looking for, as quickly as possible. As Walmart CFO Brett Briggs stated, “We’re testing how to interact with the customer differently, understanding better how they want to shop.” The idea of the endless aisle is ideal for the shoppers who more often than not shop online. When dealing with e-tailers like Amazon, every product is within reach, for a brick-and-mortar store like Walmart, the “endless aisle” expands options and ease-of-use for their customers. It also cuts down on the consumer tendency to purchase from a competitor when an item is out of stock.
Walmart’s focus on parent consumers
One of the most important things to note in Walmart’s choice to implement this technology is that they focused on the kid’s toys aisles. This may seem like an odd choice, but with toys making up four percent of their revenue, and video games amounting to seven percent (as reported by Statistics Brain last year) the choice makes more sense.
When it comes to the biggest revenue earning periods of the year, like “Cyber Monday” (November 29th) or the holiday season, Walmart needs to compete for the consumer segment that will stop at nothing to put a smile on their little ones’ faces (otherwise known as Walmart’s future consumer). Going one step further in this pursuit, the device can suggest best-sellers by prompting users to answer a selection of questions, such as, if it’s a gift, the gender of the child, and the child’s age.
Today’s parents are wrapped up in a world of responsibilities, pressures, and financial stress. When it comes to shopping, it makes sense more and more of them are switching to e-commerce. Once Amazon started venturing into selling products beyond books, they became the easiest shopping option. Due to this they slowly started poaching revenue from retail giants, slowly forcing companies like Walmart to adjust their approach. In targeting the “parent customer,” Walmart is re-aligning their sights on a segment of consumers they know have very little time, a high penchant for easy shopping, and the ones that are the most likely to use e-retailers. Alongside the endless aisle roll out, the test stores are also implementing “Scan and Go” technology in an attempt to make checking out even easier. All of this to draw people away from their device screens (and off of Amazon.com) and back into brick-and-mortar stores.
Why this works
This kind of move is a perfect example of realizing where you fell behind, why it happened, and finding ways to rectify the situation to and recapture sales you know exist. The customer is the target, and giving them what they want/need even if they aren’t consciously aware of it is of great importance. In this particular case, what consumers want is a shopping experience that takes away as little time from their lives as possible. With these technological implementations, Walmart is offering a new way to do just that.
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