Will Walmart customers ‘Text to Shop’?
Walmart is rolling out a “Text to Shop” feature that allows customers to add items to their online shopping basket using text messages.
To work, the free feature must be linked to the shopper’s Walmart account so their usually ordered items can be reordered, according to a blog entry. For instance, if an individual texts “ice cream,” the application knows what flavor, brand and size they typically purchase. If a shopper texts an item they haven’t purchased before, they are provided with options from which to choose.
Customers can switch things out, review what’s in their cart, check out, and schedule pickups and deliveries via text or the Walmart app. (Order changes must be made up to three hours before an order is scheduled for pickup or is scheduled to go out for delivery.)
Some customer comments in the blog entry commending Text to Shop included:
- “I had gotten everything I needed but then I forgot two or three items, and I could get them with just a text. It’s almost as if you have your own personal shopper.”
- “When different things pop into your mind you’re usually out and about running errands. I don’t have time to log into the app and add to the cart.”
- “I love having Walmart messages pinned at the top of my message app. It’s easy to just add things.”
In a blog entry from January, Desirée Gosby, VP, emerging technology, Walmart Global Tech, and Dominique Essig, VP, Conversational Commerce, Store No8, said the company applied learnings from Jetblack to Text to Shop, a $50-per-month subscription service Walmart launched in 2018 that enabled shoppers to text message personal shoppers. The feature was shut down in 2020 reportedly after significant losses.
The retailer has conducted multiple beta tests of Text To Shop since March 2021, appraising the use of both text and voice shopping capabilities as time savers for customers. The two wrote, “To do this well, we designed Walmart’s conversational shopping experiences to meet customers where they are — meaning on their preferred devices — and to communicate naturally, by allowing customers to simply ask for what they want, any way they want.”
- Text to Shop: Walmart Customers Can Now Shop as Easily as Texting – Walmart
- Walmart adds ‘Text to Shop’ in time for holidays – Supermarket News
- Walmart Launches Text to Shop – Ecommercebytes
- Walmart to consumers: Let your fingers do the shopping – Winsight Grocery
- How Walmart Builds Conversational Shopping To Create Innovative Customer Experiences – Walmart
- How will Jetblack lessons inform Walmart’s conversational commerce efforts? – RetailWire
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: Will “Text to Shop” hold enough appeal to support wide use from shoppers? Do you see challenges around execution or achieving ROI?