In the not so distant past, shopping was different. You had to know what you wanted, drive to the store and then purchase your item. Now, it’s browsing, price comparisons, subscriptions and boxes on your doorstep. Amazon has been the main disruptor but other big stores are finally showing signs of life in the online world of shopping. Walmart and Target have made strides and while they are not doing the same level of business as Amazon, they are becoming better.
It’s a little lazy of me but with traffic, a dog and just being plain old tired, I tested out Walmart and Target’s online services. In both cases I used their iPhone apps. I didn’t go nuts and order a bunch of hard to find stuff. I went with basics just to see if the stores could hit the softball I was tossing. Overall the answer was ‘yes’. However there are places to improve.
Walmart purchased JET.com a few years ago. JET was known for having price changes based on how close the item you ordered was to you. It was a way of being environmentally friendlier and recently they have begun incorporating that at Walmart.com.
I had two main pieces for my acceptance criteria. 1) everything would show up in the same box and 2) the stores meet the 2 day shipping deadline that went with the purchases. Walmart did neither but did do something pretty well. When it became clear that one item would not make the 2 day shipping deadline, they sent an email alerting me that the toilet paper I had ordered would be late and if it didn’t make it to me the next day then they would automatically cancel that part of the order and refund my credit card.
So Walmart has some things to work out. The price point is great, you can order and pick up in store and they send solid notifications about the status of your order. But not being able to ship toilet paper on time? We got some things to work out here fellas.
The Target app lacks some things and the notification process needs some work. Using the same acceptance criteria that I used for Walmart, Target nailed those two things. The best part, all the items came in one box.
Target did not however give any kind of notifications until the box was actually delivered. That was kind of concerning since we are pretty use to being able to check on the status of an order with Amazon. It’s also a little annoying that I wasn’t even given a tracking number for the order.
Everything worked out but when it comes to Holiday shipping, I will be a little hesitant to order from Target because of the lack of updates.
Overall Walmart and Target have made up a lot of ground. While not as robust or slick as Amazon, they have made solid improvements and have an edge over Amazon in a lot of ways. First, they have an inordinate amount of brick and motor locations. Considering that 90 percent of Americans live within 15 minutes of a Walmart, which means that ordering online and picking up at the store is a very viable option.
Online shopping has become the standard even if some people don’t have it nailed down yet. Walmart and Target have gotten their stuff together or at least are on their way to getting their stuff together. Sometimes going with the legacy guys is the right way to go.