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Walmart tries a 'blended channel' approach to survive in a digital world

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Walmart DTD 555
Walmart DTD 555

Retail stores such as Best Buy are struggling to survive in a digital age, but Walmart is hoping to avoid the same fate by embracing both physical and digital models. In an interview with Wired, the company states the the goal "isn’t to pit physical stores against the website," but instead to use a hybrid approach. Customers can still walk into a retail store and browse goods, but Walmart tries to enhance the experience with its mobile app. When people walk into a Walmart's geofenced area, for example, the app enters "Store" mode, displaying the latest deals and giving people a chance to order items online if they happen to be out of stock in-store.

The hybrid model seems to be working so far, with the company claiming that 12 percent of online sales made through the Walmart app happen while customers are standing in a retail store or using the "Store" mode. It’s not the only strategy the retailer is trying either: Walmart recently began trialing same-day delivery in a small number of locations in response to similar services offered by Amazon and eBay. Walmart’s mantra looks to embrace the internet rather than shun it, but only time will tell if other physical stores will follow suit.