How Walmart Made Their App Indispensable

Author: 8th and Walton

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Apps are popular among brands and retailers. Being part of the “There’s an App for That!” movement feels like a good choice — doesn’t everybody love apps?

Sure. But consumers can only have so many apps on their smartphone home screen. They’re going to have instant messaging of some kind, their tunes, Evernote, their camera, maps, Facebook and Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, their diet tracker and budget tracker, Google Search, Snapchat, a game or two, a learning app of some kind, maybe an app related to their job or their favorite sport– how are they supposed to fit in a shopping app?

Most don’t. Amazon and Walmart — with position 22 — are the only retail shopping apps in the top 25 most popular apps list. The leaders on that list aren’t changing much as years pass, either; practically everyone who uses an iPhone wants social media, messaging, music, and maps. So breaking in and getting space on consumer’s phones is not easy.

Most stores have a hard time even getting people to use their apps. Only 8% of consumers prefer to shop with their phones, and most store apps aren’t as useful or user-friendly as their websites. Shoppers don’t usually visit a store daily, and most don’t visit a store app daily, either. Store apps may have some novelty value, but they can’t compete with the high-priority apps people use every day. So how did Walmart manage to get onto the Top 25 list so quickly?

They had the clever plan of connecting their app to a habit that shoppers already had in place.

Value-conscious shoppers already compare prices, and many do so with their phones. Diligent price-conscious shoppers were also in the habit of bringing ads with them to Walmart for price matching.

The Savings Catcher made all of that easier. No need to gather print ads or to search for one ad after another on a phone, showing the prices to the cashier and making people in line behind you cross. The app does the work and customers can just check their apps to see how much they’ve saved.

Walmart is now testing a button that alerts store associates when a shopper heads in to pick up an online order. Again, rather than trying to get customers to change their habits, the app will tag along with current actions and make them easier.

Knowing your customer and making wise use of technology is the Walmart way.

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