How Wal-Mart aims to combine social, mobile, stores and the web

May 30, 2012 10:44 AM

Shoppers have increasing expectations for products and services, and retailers will need to innovate to get—and keep—their customers’ attention. For Wal-Mart Stores Inc., that means blending new web, social and mobile tools that enable consumers to shop where, when and how they wish, says Joel Anderson, president and CEO of U.S.

Anderson will describe how Wal-Mart developed new technology to give shoppers more opportunities to interact with the mass merchant at the Internet Retailer Conference & Exhibition 2012 next week in Chicago in a session titled “Creating innovation through the next generation of retail.”

“The customer is now in control in the new generation of e-commerce,” Anderson says. “To win them over, any retailer needs to combine social, mobile, online and physical stores to give them anywhere, anytime access for the best customer experience.”

Innovation is what makes one company stand out from others—and in today’s retailing world, the combination of technology and customer behavior is where innovation begins. With more than 200 million visits to its stores every week, Wal-Mart is taking steps into the next generation of retail to ensure customers can shop according to their preference.

“The next generation of retail is changing the way customers shop with the advent of online, social and mobile combined with physical stores,” Anderson says. “Innovation is key to this next customer phase, and we’ve recently introduced several new programs such as Shopycat, a gifting app for Facebook; Get on the Shelf, which leverages crowd-sourcing to find new products; Pay with Cash for ‘unbanked’ customers; and several new mobile developments.”

Unbanked shoppers are those without bank accounts or credit cards.

Internet Retailer editors asked Anderson to speak based on his extensive experience in e-commerce. Anderson is responsible for all strategic development, merchandising and operations of Wal-Mart Stores Inc.’s U.S.-based web site. From 2007 to 2011, Anderson was senior vice president for Wal-Mart’s Northern Plains Division. His 20 years of e-commerce and retail experience includes serving as president of the direct business for tabletop and giftware brand Lenox. He also held executive positions at Toys ‘R’ Us Inc., including senior vice president, marketing for Babies ‘R’ Us, and started the company’s online businesses. His prior employers include Target Corp. and Airborne Express.




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