What do you know about the massive brick and mortar and online retailer known as Walmart? For me, that knowledge was quite limited until I got the chance to go behind the scenes at the Walmart.com e-commerce office in Sunnyvale, CA. I was quite surprised at the standard office front and wondered if I was in the right place. The big Walmart To Go truck outside and clear signage marked the way though. I really had no idea what to expect!
Walmart.com E-Commerce Blogger Event in Sunnyvale, CA
Together with twenty-five other bloggers, half of which were Walmart Moms, we stood in awe at the welcome wall with all of our blog logos inscribed on it. Numerous selfies ensued.
Kelly Thompson, Senior Vice President of Merchandising for Walmart.com shared with us Walmart’s motto – to help moms take care of their family and do it with style. There are 4200 stores, many of which are within 15 miles of their customers. Speaking of which, Walmart stores and ecommerce serve 140,000,000 U.S. customers every week. And, yes, that is (fake) grass on the ground. There were also huge hedges acting as room dividers. It’s like their office in the park.
Affordable Products for Everyone
We also got a preview of some of the items currently in-store. Some of the fab $10 statement necklaces from Walmart were shown off (see the last photo) and we peeked at the Bella Linea line of coordinating kitchen appliances. We later used the Sport Rocket Blenders for a smoothie social in the early afternoon and were gifted one to take home. It’s strong enough to tackle the frozen fruit I use in my morning smoothies but is in an easy-to-clean single-serve container.
Those with young children were raving about the Urbini Omni 3-in-1 stroller shown. For $199, the car seat is included and the stroller itself converts to an infant car seat carrier, an infant bassinet stroller, or a toddler stroller. It’s a great price and everyone that has one loves it.
After doing a collective Walmart cheer, Rachel Ulman explained some ways access to Walmart is being expanded. Home delivery was introduced to the San Jose/San Francisco area back in 2011 and fresh food is now available with their Walmart To Go program. In October of 2013, Denver got the home delivery as well as the curbside pickup where employees actually bring your groceries to you and put them right in your car. Northwest Arkansas can also benefit from the store pickup. Saving time, these services were likened to having a good friend do your errands for you. There is a $30 minimum and deliveries run from $5 to $7.
Accessing the Savings Online & On the Go
Sara Khoury gave us a thorough demo of the new Walmart website (which was not yet released and super, ultra secret). 65% of their shoppers use their smartphone, with one-third of them being women. So, a Pinterest-like feel was given to the new site with large, appealing graphics. The site is also optimized for tablets. They tried to replicate the in-store shopping experience so navigating the web site “felt” like Walmart. You can also find ratings, questions and answers, and benefit from a one-page checkout. Even rollbacks and coupons are conveniently located in one spot. Do you like the site-lift so far?
Victoria Perry outlined all the back-to-school specials. With 10% more rollbacks on back-t0-school items and 2,000 of them under $3, Walmart made it easy for parents to tackle the new year. Teachers could even upload lists for easy access for their families. Teachers always save extra at Walmart and homeschool parents can take advantage of that as well.
Nick Nguyen, head of Mobile Product, helped enlighten us on his research in using tech to help solve real problems. Did you know that out of the 200,000 products found in a Walmart store, most only spend their time in 30% of the store? Or that Walmart is the number one U.S. banana vendor? The new app has a aisle locator included per your local store and makes it easy to find the most popular items. With Saving Catcher, you can get automatic price matching. Just scan the QR code on your receipt and get your reward dollars instantly.
It was time to break for lunch. We all felt so appreciated by how well we were taken care of!
Colors & Styles to Suit Your Lifestyle
Next was a crash course on interior design and fashion trends. We heard about the new decor items from Cortney Novogratz and Libby Langdon and the affordable style line of Shauna Miller. Then we got to make a pin board of products and apparel, old-school style (with push pins and cork board). Julie Gehrki, Rob Kaplan, and Dana Towsey finished off the day with their insights on Walmart’s global responsibility towards sustainability and Women’s Economic Empowerment. I was impressed to find out that some products are pulled a bit early from stores, still with plenty of shelf life, and then donated to food banks.
It was definitely a long day full of information and good company. The wine and cheese from Sam’s Club and a makeover with Hard Candy cosmetics was the perfect way to draw it all to a close.
Getting to meet some of the faces behind Walmart and Walmart.com gave me a new impression of the value the company presents for families. Thanks to the whole crew for an inside look and I can’t wait to see what else you’ve got up your sleeves for later this year.