Will Walmart win back-to-school with click and collect services?
For many retailers, back-to-school (BTS) represents the second biggest sales opportunity behind Christmas to boost their top and bottom lines. This year promises to be as competitive as ever as consumers alter traditional patterns of shopping and retailers look for ways to win their business. Among those retailers is Walmart, which announced yesterday that it has taken steps to make it faster and easier for customers to shop for BTS.
Walmart announced it has “substantially” expanded its selection of BTS and back-to-college (BTC) items that customers can order online using its Online Grocery Pickup and Pickup Today services. A new dedicated section on walmart.com called “TeacherLists” provides parents and kids with their school’s official supplies list.
The retailer is also positioning BTS “helpers” in stores — think the checkout elves it deployed during Christmas — to help customers who didn’t order online find the shortest lines and add any items that may have been forgotten while shopping.
“It’s always been our job to save our customers money and we aren’t changing — you can still find more than 300 items under $1 at Walmart this back-to-school season — but we’re doing more than that,” said Scott Bayles, vice president of stationery, Walmart U.S. in a statement. “We’re also saving our customers time with easy ways to shop and multiple ways to get these items to students, so everyone can ace their school shopping.”
New research from Deloitte suggests Walmart may be ready to post big numbers as 81 percent of those surveyed said they are planning to shop at mass merchants, a 24 percent jump from last year. Preconfigured classroom supply kits offered by sites such as School Tool Box (www.schooltoolbox.com) also figure more prominently in consumers’ plans with 30 percent of families planning to use them.
According to the National Retail Federation’s annual BTS and BTC survey conducted by Prosper Insights and Analytics, total spending for school and college will increase 10 percent this year. The survey points to a growing school population, changes in the supplies being purchased for college students and general confidence in the economy as factors in the expected jump in sales.
- What’s on Walmart’s Syllabus? Faster Shopping, Easier Pickup, Lower Prices and Straight-A Assortment – Walmart
- Back-To-School and Back-to-College Spending to Reach $83.6 Billion – National Retail Federation
- Deloitte Survey: Back-to-School Shopping has a New Curriculum This Year – Deloitte/PR Newswire
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: In what ways do you see consumers’ back-to-school and back-to-college shopping behavior changing and how is it affecting retailers? Is Walmart on the right track to increase its share of sales based on its announcement?