Wal-Mart rebuilding website in bid to better match Amazon
NEW YORK - Wal-Mart Stores Inc., in its latest bid to compete with nemesis Amazon.com, is rebuilding its website to further personalize the online shopping experience of each customer.
Wal-Mart is rolling out a feature that will enable its website to show shoppers more products that they may like, based on previous purchases. It will also customize Wal-Mart's home page for each shopper based on the customer's location, local weather, and search and purchase history.
So if a new mother just bought a stroller or crib on Walmart.com, the revamped website might recommend diapers and car seats, too. And if someone who lives in Dallas searches the website for sports jerseys, Walmart.com could suggest Rangers or Dallas Cowboys gear.
The increased personalization is part of a series of changes to improve the online shopping experience of its customers that are rolling out now and over the next few months. The retailer is looking to boost its business online at a time when its U.S. discount division has seen disappointing sales.
Wal-Mart's e-commerce sales increased by 30 percent to over $10 billion in its fiscal year that ended Jan. 31. By comparison, Walmart's U.S. discount division has had five straight quarters of sales declines at stores opened at least a year.
Walmart sees a big growth opportunity in the online business: Online sales still are only a fraction of the $473 billion Walmart generated in overall annual revenue, dwarfed by Amazon's $60.9 billion in annual sales.
The move to personalize websites for shoppers has become a top priority for traditional brick-and-mortar retailers like Walmart as they play catch up with Amazon.com, the online king that pioneered customizing content for shoppers. Retailers increasingly are trying to use their reams of customer data they get from mobile devices and computers to personalize their websites and ultimately, boost sales.
Other retailers, including home-improvement chain Home Depot and office-supplies retailer Staples, have been working to personalize the online shopping experience.