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Shopping on Walmart’s digital properties will have a new look this week.
The news: The retailer is rolling out a new look for its app and website that is geared toward creating a more engaging experience. The changes are taking place as Walmart continues to emphasize its third-party marketplace, and gain more digitally-savvy customers at a time of rising inflation.
What’s new? Walmart said the revamp included the following:
A redesigned homepage that is designed with more curation and a “product-focused experience” in order to provide inspiration, and focus around specific occasions such as holidays or big events. This timely focus was evident at launch on Monday, as Easter, spring Mother’s Day and Earth Day were in focus throughout the homepage.
Elements of the new shopping experience include rich imagery, live video and a social media-like scroll that allows for browsing.
Who benefits? Walmart broke down a few ways that the redesign benefits its constituencies:
Customers will be able to more easily browse and discover items.
Suppliers and marketplace sellers will have new opportunities to showcase more relevant products and better tell their stories.
Creators will have more resources, tools and products to build community and inspire customers. This comes after Walmart launched a new creator platform last year.
Under the hood: The Walmart Global Tech product and design teams collaborated to bring the redesign to life.
How we got here: Walmart’s ecommerce operation was supercharged during the pandemic, as demand for online shopping accelerated and the retailer coalesced its offerings around an omnichannel approach that included capabilities like curbside pickup and membership through the Walmart+ subscription program. What grew out of necessity during a health emergency has now become the future of the business. This year, Walmart continues to put a big emphasis on ecommerce growth by expanding its third-party marketplace, building out automated fulfillment operations and growing a retail media network that is powering a higher-margin digital business alongside the existing selling of goods.
The redesign figures to be an important component in driving and retaining traffic on Walmart's ecommerce stores. Adding more visual and social features also shows that the retailer took the opportunity to provide a UX update so that its ecommerce site aligns with how people use the internet now.
On the company’s most recent earnings call , CFO John David Rainey noted the importance of strong website traffic to the business.
“As we get more assortment on the marketplace, we get more eyeballs coming to our website, that allows more advertisers or makes advertisers want to spend money there, too, with the larger audience,” he said.So, along with customers and brands, the redesign will also create more opportunities for retail media growth. It’s an area that Rainey has said will become more important as a profit-driver for the business in the next five years. Last decade, advertising from brands and retailers helped platforms like Facebook and Instagram drive outsize growth. This decade, retailers themselves are implementing more social experiences and advertising. Given the growth of online shopping and changes to privacy, companies like Walmart are now positioned to reap the benefits.
Trending in Shopper Experience
Campbell Soup Company CEO Mark Clouse offered thoughts on messaging amid inflationary shifts in consumer behavior.
After months of elevated inflation and interest rate hikes that have the potential to cool demand, consumers are showing more signs of shifting behavior.
It’s showing up in retail sales data, but there’s also evidence in the observations of the brands responsible for grocery store staples.
The latest example came this week from Campbell Soup Company. CEO Mark Clouse told analysts that the consumer continues to be “resilient” despite continued price increases on food, but found that “consumers are beginning to feel that pressure” as time goes on.
This shows up in the categories they are buying. Overall, Clouse said Campbell sees a shift toward shelf-stable items, and away from more expensive prepared foods.
There is also change in when they make purchases. People are buying more at the beginning of the month. That’s because they are stretching paychecks as long as possible.
These shifts change how the company is communicating with consumers.
Clouse said the changes in behavior are an opportunity to “focus on value within our messaging without necessarily having to chase pricing all the way down.”
“No question that it's important that we protect affordability and that we make that relevant in the categories that we're in," Clouse said. "But I also think there's a lot of ways to frame value in different ways, right?”
A meal cooked with condensed soup may be cheaper than picking up a frozen item or ordering out. Consumers just need a reminder. Even within Campbell’s own portfolio, the company can elevate brands that have more value now, even if they may not always get the limelight.
The open question is whether the shift in behavior will begin to show up in the results of the companies that have raised prices. Campbell’s overall net sales grew 5% for the quarter ended April 30, while gross profit margins held steady around 30%. But the category-level results were more uneven. U.S. soup sales declined 11%, though the company said that was owed to comparisons with the quarter when supply chains reopened a year ago and expressed confidence that the category is seeing a longer-term resurgence as more people cook at home following the pandemic. Snacks, which includes Goldfish and Pepperidge Farm, were up 12% And while net sales increased overall, the amount of products people are buying is declining. Volumes were down 7%.
These are trends happening across the grocery store. Campbell is continuing to compete. It is leading with iconic brands, and a host of different ways to consume them. It is following that up with innovation that makes the products stand out. Then, it is driving home messaging that shows consumers how to fit the products into their lives, and even their tightening spending plans.
Campbell Soup is more than 150 years old, and has seen plenty of difficult economic environments. It is also a different business today, and will continue to evolve. At the end of the day, continued execution is what’s required.
“If it's good food, people are going to buy it, especially if it's a great value,” Clouse said.