2012 Mobile Retailer of the Year: Walmart

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New York—Retail giant Walmart already bills itself as the largest retailer in the world, the third largest public corporation in the world and the biggest private employer in the world. Now it can add another feather to its cap: 2012 Mobile Retailer of the Year.

The accolade, handed out by Mobile Commerce Daily, cites the retailer that advanced mobile commerce the most during the year.

While Mobile Commerce said there were many worthy candidates for the award, Walmart could serve as a role model for retailers in mobile commerce.

“It is not enough to simply have a presence in the mobile commerce space. Retailers need to dominate it, and Walmart reigns,” according to Mobile Commerce.

Among the strategies Walmart initiated during 2012 include:

●Walmart elevated its comprehensive 360-degree mobile commerce efforts to create a more streamlined shopping experience that incorporates various channels such as mobile applications, mobile web, augmented reality, mobile advertising, mobile bar codes, social media, location-based services and push notifications.

●Created @WalmartLabs, a technology hub in Silicon Valley that “aims to improve every part of a consumer’s journey, from finding the nearest store to deciding to go into the store and coming out with a product.”

● Launched its Store Mode mobile app that uses geolocation and geofencing technology to detect when consumers enter a Walmart location.

●Consumers can check prices by scanning product bar codes and QR codes, as well as planning their shopping list and using digital coupons.

●Introduced its Scan & Go in November that allows consumers to save time by scanning store items with their iPhone and bagging them while they shop. Consumers then can head to a self-checkout lane, transfer their basket wirelessly and complete the payment. Scan & Go shoppers also can receive electronic receipts through the Walmart iPhone app, access their purchase information, search historical digital receipts, and add favorite items to their shopping list.

●Black Friday interactive maps let customers view the Top 25 Black Friday items and see their location on a store map.

●The store now supports iPhone, iPad and Android apps, as well as the mobile web.

●Walmart jumped on the augmented reality bandwangon with the debut of its Web Slinger augmented reality app as a key part of its promotional strategy for summer blockbuster films. The app permits consumers interact with in-store displays to access exclusive content.

●Partnered with Procter & Gamble to put QR codes on bus shelters and trucks to encourage consumers to scan and instantly buy P&G products from brands such as Tide, Pampers and Gillette.

Gibu Thomas, senior vice president of mobile and digital at Walmart, said that while smartphones have transformed consumers’ lives, “when you walk into a store–and that’s where over 90% of retail happens–your shopping experience is still very much what it was 10 or 20 years ago.”

“The possibility of mobile bringing the web to the store is incredibly disruptive,” Thomas told Mobile Commerce. “E-commerce brought the store to the web and mobile brings the web to the store. Our biggest opportunity in mobile is to drive offline-influenced retail sales with these capabilities, making it easier for our customers to shop with us.”


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