Will Walmart’s new registry make parents forget Babies ‘R’ Us?

Discussion
Source: Walmart
Apr 05, 2019
George Anderson

A wide range of retailers rushed in to fill the gap left in the toy market when Toys “R” Us shuttered its doors across America. The same can be said for the baby products category as retailers have been looking to provide parents, grandparents and others who used to shop at Babies “R” Us when little ones needed everyday items or gifts. That’s where Walmart’s new baby registry comes in.

According to the retailer’s blog, many parents find the process of starting a baby registry somewhat overwhelming. The retailer’s goal, as a result, was to simplify the process. Not only did this include having everything from A to Z for baby’s needs, but the addition of an “adorable chatbot” to help those setting up a registry or looking to purchase an item.

The chatbot known as Hoo the Owl has been designed to ask questions in a fun and engaging way. Walmart users answers to such questions as due date, location, preferred nursery theme, gender or non-gender preferences to personalize each registry.

The retailer plans to expand Hoo’s knowledge base with additional questions such as whether organic and/or sustainable product options are preferred. It will also add to its nursery theme options.

Walmart has filled out its website with thousands of new items over the past year to make sure its inventory is in line with what its registry members want.

Those setting up or buying for the registry may access it through Walmart’s mobile app. According to the retailer, eight in 10 new moms use their phones to add items to the registry.

In a real sense, Walmart is playing catch up in the online baby category. While the retailer told CNBC that traffic to its baby pages is up 30 percent year-over-year, it is still way behind Amazon.com. USA Today, citing an IBISWorld report, shows Amazon.com leads market share in the category at 27.5 percent with Target a distant second at 5.8 percent .

Getting people to shop for baby items on Walmart has positive effects that go beyond the retailer’s registry. A company spokesperson told CNBC that parents often decrease the number of places they shop for their kids after babies are born and that those who sign up for its registry “significantly increase their spend with Walmart across all categories.”

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: Is Walmart on the right track with its baby registry? Do you see the retailer having more advantages than its rivals as it seeks to gain share of the market through the new registry and other efforts?

Please practice The RetailWire Golden Rule when submitting your comments.
Braintrust
"When shopping for baby items you want a trusted retailer. Walmart is a trusted retailer."
"Having just traveled halfway across the country for yet another gender reveal party, I have it on good authority that babies are perennially popular."
"When I look at the moms who are going to be setting up a registry, I am not sure I see that many who would naturally look to Walmart."

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13 Comments on "Will Walmart’s new registry make parents forget Babies ‘R’ Us?"


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Chris Petersen, PhD.
BrainTrust

The better question is, what took Walmart so long? Earning customer relationships through selling products for newborns is one of the most powerful and profitable relationships a retailer can have. The key word here is “earning.” The registry has to be easy, convenient, relevant and engaging. By leveraging its growing click and collect expertise, this can be a real winner for Walmart.

Bethany Allee
BrainTrust

Totally agree with everything Chris says and I’d add – Walmart is looking to take share away from Target. Ding ding ding!

Rob Gallo
BrainTrust

This is a smart move as there is obviously market share available. The advantage over Amazon would be that new moms would want to see, touch, and try merchandise before adding it to the registry or making the registry live.

Art Suriano
BrainTrust

I can see this as being somewhat successful. However, when it comes to registries, consumers have stigmas about brands. Consumers see Walmart as a huge discount store and not always one where you get the best quality. Therefore, some people will not want to sign up with their registry for that reason. Buy Buy Baby, for now, has a better opportunity as well as other smaller chains that sell baby products. It’s okay to save money when buying for yourself, but when choosing a registry or purchasing a gift, people often have a different perspective. I can see many pregnant women not being enthused about using Walmart’s registry for their baby as well as their family and friends looking to purchase gifts.

Lee Kent
BrainTrust

Yes, Art, when I look at the moms who are going to be setting up a registry, I am not sure I see that many who would naturally look to Walmart. The registry is usually for those special items and they are mostly about quality and brand names. I do however, love the concept Walmart is putting in place. It looks like a fun and easy shopping experience. Walmart will have to step up their marketing efforts and put the right focus on products though. And that’s my 2 cents.

Ben Ball
BrainTrust

Having just traveled halfway across the country for yet another gender reveal party, I have it on good authority that babies are perennially popular. This is a great idea for Walmart, but to be honest I can’t believe they weren’t already in this space.

Bethany Allee
BrainTrust

You should put, “I have it on good authority that babies are perennially popular” on a t-shirt. I’m still chuckling.

Georganne Bender
BrainTrust

Babies “R” Us definitely left a void to be filled. Have you seen the amount of things Babies “need” these days? It makes your head spin. If Walmart stocks similar items and makes it fun and easy to shop, consumers will respond positively.

I want to know where the car seat comes from, that it’s genuine, actually made by the brand name on the box. When shopping for baby items you want a trusted retailer. Walmart is a trusted retailer.

Jeff Sward
BrainTrust

Walmart is absolutely on the right track. Baby is proving to be a gateway category for the family to do broader and longer term shopping for the whole family. That’s a huge win for Walmart. And of course they are behind Amazon, but so is everybody. Few retailers are being as aggressive as Walmart in gaining on Amazon. And oh by the way, there is Target. Great range of choices for the consumer.

Evan Snively
BrainTrust

Overall it will certainly help Walmart up the CLV of those who utilize it.
Rob beat me to the punch on the tangible factor of parents being able to see and feel products that will be used by their little bundles prior to adding it to the list.
From personal experience I know that parents also can feel a little guilty adding outrageously expensive baby items to a registry (that might only be used for three months), so Walmart might have an advantage with satisfying those cost conscious consumers who don’t want to put friends and family out.

gordon arnold
Guest

Amazon and eBay made consumers forget the “R” US clan long ago. As for Walmart, they could use a lesson in 21st century marketing to get this and other “new/old” ideas off the ground.

Jonathan Brodsky
Guest

I doubt that Walmart will make people forget about Babies “R” Us. The real question is why someone would use Walmart over Amazon for this; there doesn’t seem to be a real compelling reason here for that.

Ricardo Belmar
BrainTrust

Wallmart is a bit late to the game with a baby registry, but it’s a good move nonetheless. I believe people have already forgotten about Babies ‘R’ Us and it’s more a matter of which retailer do they normally trust with common purchases. There’s a reason Amazon and Target are out in front with this.

Walmart’s twist of offering this via a fun chatbot may be a good differentiator if it brings ease of use and added value to customers beyond traditional concepts of baby registries. If Walmart can add more predictive capabilities to the baby registry within the Walmart app, perhaps they can extend this functionality to other product areas in the app that customers will be used to having once they go beyond baby products. That could lead to something truly unique!

wpDiscuz
Braintrust
"When shopping for baby items you want a trusted retailer. Walmart is a trusted retailer."
"Having just traveled halfway across the country for yet another gender reveal party, I have it on good authority that babies are perennially popular."
"When I look at the moms who are going to be setting up a registry, I am not sure I see that many who would naturally look to Walmart."

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