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What SMB retailers can learn from Walmart’s latest holiday pilot

March 23, 2020

What SMB retailers can learn from Walmart’s latest holiday pilot
During the hustle and bustle of the 2019 holiday shopping season, Walmart rolled out an innovative omnichannel marketing program. The retail giant partnered with Digimarc to produce printed toy catalogs that contained pages with cleverly (i.e., invisible) embedded barcodes. Pages could be scanned through the Walmart mobile app, Digimarc’s technology would kick in, read the page and send the user to the specific products on that page available for purchase online.

When companies like Walmart launch such initiatives, the entire retail world takes note. Most retailers aren’t working at the scale of Walmart. However, that doesn’t mean your customers can’t emulate the omnichannel spirit of what Walmart was pursuing.

Use retail technology to make shopping easier
At its heart, Walmart was trying to remove barriers and make it easier for its customers to find products and buy them online. This is the foundation of omnichannel retail technology. If you’d like to help retailers help their customers, there are some realistic goals you can set.

E-commerce—If a retailer wants to make it easy for customers to make purchases, they should have an online presence that includes e-commerce capabilities. It’s expected by most shoppers and really is a must-have.

BOPIS—To give customers the control they seek, many retailers are now offering the ability to buy products online and pick up in-store (BOPIS). If you help your customers set up an e-commerce solution, make sure it includes BOPIS.

Loyalty—Offering a loyalty program gives retailers the ability to incentivize and reward repeat customers. More importantly, it provides valuable data that retailers can use to enhance the customer experience further. Ask your payment processing and POS software partners about loyalty functionality they might have ready to deploy.

Clienteling—Customer preferences and past purchases (online or offline) can be used to provide personalized shopping experiences. Whether the data is used by an associate in person or to message highly targeted promotions, clienteling is a crucial component of long-term customer relationships.

Electronic marketing—If your retailers capture customer email addresses or mobile phone numbers, they can begin driving all sorts of targeted marketing to their e-commerce platform.

Apps—While having an e-commerce site and loyalty program are great accomplishments, the next level would be offering a standalone store-branded app. Today, numerous vendors make it affordable for a retailer to launch an app that contains tightly integrated inventory, loyalty, messaging and other customer-facing value-adds.

Beacons—Once a retailer has its own app, it’s much easier to employ the use of beacons to push personalized promotions and messaging to customers as they shop.

Not every retailer can copy the Walmarts and Amazons of the world, but best practices can still be gleaned from their actions. If you’d like help bringing e-commerce and omnichannel retail technology to your customers, contact Daryl Schuster, Ingram Micro’s DCPOS expert.