Consumer app spending is up 73%.
Consumer app spending is up 73%.

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Walmart’s Q2 online sales are up 74%…stealing share from Amazon.

There are two teams on the field: Amazon and Walmart.

Only one can win. And, this is so much more than a retail rivalry. It’s a race: who can capture the new omnichannel consumer—first? Each of us is eager for the outcome, because we’re all part of the game.

Omnichannel consumers are the “new normal” and we have to understand their behavior to win back sales.

Here’s how it all started.

In 2019, retail sales in the US totalled $3.8 trillion.

Roughly 16% of retail sales were from eCommerce—about $602 billion1. But, not for long. COVID-19 hit the U.S. in March of 2020. As businesses closed their doors, consumer behavior was pushed in a new direction.

Buying didn’t stop when foot traffic did. Shoppers simply switched to app and web purchases. And in stocking up in eCommerce, they also shared a very large data footprint. One that every researcher wants to see.

Walmart had a perfect opportunity.

The moment brick & mortar sales started to drop, Walmart shifted to a hybrid approach. Customers could buy online—and pick-up in-store: BOPIS. An evolution for the retail giant.

But, a challenge for the research industry, which had no digital data to mirror Walmart’s move.

Until now.

It’s working. 

Walmart grew online sales by 74% in the last quarter2

You could argue that everyone’s online sales are up right now. And, you’d be right. But, while everyone else grew at 50%3, Walmart stayed 24% ahead of the curve—using a proven strategy4.

Walmart offset the “newness” of buying online by making it familiar to its consumers. With an in-store pickup, eCommerce is no longer new, it’s natural. The buyer is instantly comfortable. More importantly, it’s something Amazon can’t do. They don’t have the in-store infrastructure to support the same scale of BOPIS.

But, what about the data?

It’s here. You can now catch consumers online, using a survey that’s sent straight to their phone.

Walmart is beating Amazon at its own game. 

Walmart has changed the game.

Their new strategy means they can leverage in-store and online sales: all backed by their massive retail footprint. Amazon can’t compete here, they simply don’t have the retail stores. 

That’s why Walmart is winning: size, speed, and a no-cost alternative to shipping. And if they’re not careful, Amazon will start slipping even further down the infield. You can avoid that position.

What it means for research.

There are two lessons here:

  1. Adapt or die.
  2. Never take your eyes off the competition. 

App and web shopping are here to stay. 

And, market research now requires an omnichannel panel. One that is willing to share app and web behavior, as well as in-store experiences. Real, in-the-moment and representative feedback. That’s how you capture the omnichannel consumer. And it’s also how you win the game.

Meet the panel.

References:

  1. https://mfour.com/guide/digital-event-surveys-a-key-to-the-massive-shift-in-spending/ 
  2. https://www.cnn.com/2020/06/15/business/walmart-shopify-online-shopping/index.html
  3. https://mfour.com/report/consumer-spending-73-now-buying-on-apps/ 
  4. https://mfour.com/blog/new-habits-76-now-buy-online-pick-up-in-store/
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