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Walmart.com does its best Amazon imitation

August 5, 2014

Walmart may be struggling to drive traffic and sales increases in its stores, but it doesn't have that problem online. Walmart.com saw its sales rise 27 percent last quarter following a 30 percent increase in 2013, according to Internet Retailer. Now, Walmart's online arm is looking to further amp up its performance with a site upgrade that some are comparing to Amazon.com.

News of the changes came in a posting on the company blog by Ben Galbraith, VP, global products, Walmart Global eCommerce.

The new design of the site was created to work on smartphones, tablets, laptops and desktop computers.

"We started our new design from the baseline of small tablets, optimizing it for that form factor, and then carefully considered how each area of the site could adapt itself to take advantage of larger screens with different input mechanisms (i.e., fingers versus mice) when available," wrote Mr. Galbraith, who said details on changes for smartphones would come at a later date.

The site is also looking to personalize the shopping experience for individual customers based on their buying and browsing history on Walmart.com and in Walmart-owned stores.

"Recommendations may be based on a customer's past searches or purchases on the site, but we can also suggest items that other customers typically buy along with the item a customer is shopping," wrote Mr. Galbraith. "We're able to deliver much more relevant suggestions because we are now able to draw from the massive trove of data from both online and store purchases."

Finding a way to better connect the online and offline worlds is another goal of the site redesign. A new "My Local Store" feature enables shoppers to see information about nearby locations including current price rollbacks and coupons.

Walmart.com is also looking to increase its visual presentation with improved product photos and videos. Walmart.com produced a video for a wheeled storage trunk as part of its back-to-college effort. It stars Laura, a member of its content team, who explains in a casually professional manner how customers can use the locker as both a storage device and piece of furniture, if needed.

While not going into detail in the post, Mr. Galbraith also said the checkout process would be improved to "become a simple, easy-to-use three-step flow that fits on a single page from start to finish."

FINANCIALS:     [NYSE:WMT] [ NASDAQ:AMZN] [ ]

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