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Walmart Links Grocery Ordering to Cross-Category eCommerce Experience

Walmart is integrating the grocery shopping experience with its overall eCommerce journey. The company sent out an email to consumers on Tuesday (Sept. 21) announcing its new website, noting that this “redesigned” allows customers to shop multiple fulfillment methods in one order.

Rather than having to place their same-day grocery order, check out and then repeat the process for their retail order, the updated site allows shoppers to browse items for pickup, delivery and fast shipping, and then add items for multiple order reception methods to the same cart and check out all at once.

By joining the grocery ordering experience to all of Walmart’s other eCommerce offerings, the retailer has the opportunity to convert customers who have not been taking advantage of its food offerings to e-grocery shoppers. Additionally, the retailer added a “buy now” button, an order tracking feature and a “quick add” recommended items feature.

The Context

In the mid-2010s, it was enough for grocers just to have an eCommerce presence to be among the more digitally savvy brands. Then, the space began heating up late in the decade. Since the start of the pandemic, while the online grocery space boomed as consumers sought out contagion-safe ways to meet their food needs, the technology has evolved rapidly. Now, any point of friction in the shopping experience can be enough to send consumers running to competitors.

By the Numbers

While online grocery has grown since it represented a low single-digit percentage of the total industry, it still remains far from the norm. PYMNTS data from the study “What Consumers Expect From Their Grocery Shopping Experiences,” a collaboration with ACI Worldwide, finds that while 94% of consumers still shop in stores, only 34% buy online at all. More specifically, only 23% of consumers buy groceries online for delivery, 20% use curbside pickup and 12% utilize buy online, pickup in-store (BOPIS) options.

Features like Walmart’s new “buy now” button can make the online shopping experience more intuitive, encouraging more consumers to take advantage of the channel. PYMNTS research from the “Buy Button Report: Optimizing Payment Choice for Digital-First Consumers” finds that in shopping for food and medicine, buy buttons can reduce checkout time by 28%.

See also: NEW DATA: Digital Features Can Help Grocers Win Over 43% of Shoppers

And: Buy Buttons Press the Need for Faster Checkout Experiences Online

What the Experts Are Saying

“Online grocery was the black sheep of eCommerce — nothing was happening there. And then, in 2017, Amazon acquires Whole Foods, and the entire market panics,” CEO Orlee Tal recalled to PYMNTS in an interview.

For Walmart, with grocery as its main advantage over Amazon, the pressure to provide a compelling eCommerce experience was acutely felt.

Now, as consumers’ spending shifts away from grocery and toward prepared foods, Walmart has to work extra hard to retain its grocery customers, given that grocery accounts for 56% of the retailer’s revenue. In addition to upgrading its eCommerce grocery experience, the retailer is also integrating ghost kitchens into its stores, adding the option to order restaurant meals.

“The dynamic of the 1950s, where somebody would cook six square meals a week and maybe go out once a week, is going to be totally the opposite,” Marc Choy, president of Ghost Kitchen Brands, told Karen Webster. “This is how people are going to know how to get their food — by ordering.”

Read more: CEO: Sticking the Landing Keeps eGrocery Customers Coming Back

And: In-Store Ghost Kitchens Turn Walmart Into Uber Eats Competitor

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