Walmart’s New Program Might Win the Christmas eCommerce War

Amazon and Walmart are each other’s biggest competitors, and the holiday shopping season is extremely important to both of their bottom lines. The pandemic has only made this competition even tougher – shoppers are expected to spend less this year, shop more online, and avoid attractions that would usually draw them into stores, such as getting pictures taken with Santa.

Because the stakes are so high this year, Walmart and Amazon are doing whatever they can to try and win over shoppers. They usually compete on factors like pricing and delivery times, but it could be their more creative offerings that actually catch consumers’ attention. Walmart has just announced a new service that is sure to attract busy shoppers that need a little extra help this year – customers can now place an order through Walmart’s website to have a handyman come out and install their Christmas lights for them.

It will cost shoppers $129 to have lights strung up outside of a single-story home, and $199 for two-story homes. They’ll also be able to spend $99-$159 to have an associate come out and remove their lights after the season is over.

In addition to light installation, Walmart is also offering to deliver live Christmas trees, poinsettias, and wreaths. They won’t be consumers’ only option for holiday plants, either – Lowes is also offering Christmas tree delivery through their website, while Home Depot offers wreath delivery.

As ecommerce has gotten more and more popular over the years, physical retailers had been having a lot of internal conversations about improving in-store experiences in order to attract shoppers. Retailers were looking at ways to incorporate elements like entertainment, added convenience, and product demonstrations into the shopper experience as a way of building loyalty and giving consumers an incentive to shop in stores instead of online. It’s very interesting to see that as ecommerce becomes more important and dominant this year, industry leaders like Walmart are still focusing on the shopper experience in creative and compelling ways.

Now that online retailers are already offering same-day delivery and are keeping prices so low that margins are razor thin, they’ve reached the point where they need to provide more interesting and attractive experiences in order to make themselves more competitive. Walmart’s Christmas light installation service is a great example of what the future of ecommerce could be. We can imagine that a company like Wayfair could soon offer in-home interior design services, or auto manufacturers could partner with a company like Uber or Lift to bring cars directly to customers’ homes for test drives.

One thing is for sure – the growth of online ordering doesn’t mean that the shopper experience is dead. Instead, ecommerce retailers will be bringing high-end experiences and services directly to the shopper’s door.  

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