With the holidays in mind, the company enhanced the app’s Store Mode functionality, which helps shoppers make purchases in store. The app also includes local ads, a shopping list and store maps for those hard to find items. Wal-Mart explains that 12 percent of its mobile-commerce sales come when customers are already in the store, signaling that shoppers are also using the app to make purchases when the item is not in stock, as opposed to traveling to a competitor’s store for the same item.
“Mobile is not purely for driving transactions online,” Thomas says, according to Internet Retailer. “We think of mobile as the glue that binds our online and offline channels together to provide a seamless experience to our customers anytime and anywhere at the tap of a finger. If a customer comes to our mobile app, views her local ad and adds something to her app’s shopping list, then buys it in-store, that’s a mobile success for us.”
For this year’s Black Friday event, Wal-Mart has special store maps to help shoppers locate doorbusters via its app on smartphones or the Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) iPad. It will also deliver push notification messages the weekend of Black Friday and Cyber Monday, alerting app users to the latest deals and store events. App users, Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) fans and email subscribers will even receive special online access to Black Friday deals on Thanksgiving Day, hours before they go on sale in stores.
Investor Insight: Is Apple Still the Top innovator?