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Technology

Walmart Spruces Up Shopping App With Store Maps, List Features

Walmart has updated its smartphone app with store maps and shopping-list builders, the latest step in the retailer’s push to reduce hassle amid a migration to e-commerce.

Walmart’s app will add a feature called Store Assistant, which activates when shoppers walk in the door. The goal is to make it easier to build shopping lists while calculating costs and quickly locating items.

Maps will eventually be available for all of the chain’s 4,700 US stores. The app will also show if a store has services like auto care or photo processing.

“Relying on our favorite apps is almost second nature,” Daniel Eckert, Walmart’s senior vice president of services and digital acceleration, said in a company blog post.

The additions build on features added last year, such as tools to refill prescriptions and wire money. Over the holiday period, Walmart also employed its app to speed up the returns process.

Smartphone Shopping

The moves show how the world’s largest retailer is trying to embrace mobile shopping while maintaining the in-store customer traffic that remains its lifeblood.

Customer visits to Walmart’s US stores have risen for 12 straight quarters, fuelling sales gains that helped push its shares up 43% last year.

The ranks of US shoppers who browse and buy with smartphones should grow 5.4% to 187 million this year, according to data tracker EMarketer. So-called mobile commerce revenue - mostly generated via smartphones - will reach $208 billion, an annual increase of 40%, EMarketer forecasts.

Walmart doesn’t disclose how many customers use its app, but said in November that its mobile-payment service, Walmart Pay, is enrolling tens of thousands of new users a day, up from just thousands previously.

News by Bloomberg, edited by ESM. Click subscribe to sign up to ESM: The European Supermarket Magazine.

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