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Wal-Mart personalizing online shoppong experience

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Everything is personal. At least that is what Wal-Mart is striving for in its revamp of consumer online experiences. In order to pack a powerhouse punch against rival Amazon, Wal-Mart is taking big steps to make their online shopping experience the best it can be.

Roll out of a feature that offers products similar to those purchased by customers will launch sometime in early 2015. Wal-Mart also plans to personalize the overall look and feel of the screen per the user’s likes and preferences. Inputs to this customization will be based on locale, offering up local weather and events, as well customizations based on purchase history.

While Wal-Mart has done phenomenally well in its brick and mortar scheme, it is now pushing forward at a fast pace to make their online offering much more robust and inviting.

Its e-commerce sales have grown by 30 percent to over $10 billion in the fiscal year that ended n January 31. Comparatively, its U.S. discount division has suffered five straight quarters of dismal decline across stores operating for over one year.

In Canada, fighting against rivals Target and Nordstroms, Wal-Mart made the bold move to offer free shipping for all online purchases. But even then, the company will have stiff competition in the market. Many websites, like shopster.ca, offer coupons and discounts to Canadians looking to shop online. This will offer Wal-Mart a real challenge in the eCommerce space.

Head o e-commerce in Wal-Mart Canada says they want to make shopping online and in stores a seamless transition.

“It’s not about an e-commerce channel, or about a store channel anymore,” said Simon Rodrigue, vice-president and general manager of Walmart.ca. “It’s really about the customer in the middle. If they want to buy online, if they want to buy on the phone, if they want to buy in store, we want to make sure we’re servicing them.”

Like all other retailers, Wal-Mart sees immense opportunities in online sales. While just a fraction of Wal-Mart’s overall $473 billion annual revenue, and falls extremely far behind Amazon’s $60.9 billion in annual sales.

Personalizing shopper websites ranks high on the to-do lists for many traditional retailers. The mobile marketplace not only provides more sales, it is a goldmine of data waiting to be collected, studied and used.

Trends captured from big data analysis fuel marketing decisions and strategic decisions.

Customization makes shopping effortless, translates to happier customers and ultimately more sales.

Wal-Mart reports that website updates made over the past two years have been welcomed by customers who have responded positively to them. Changes included a quadruple of items offered to total about eight million and tweaks to its search tool, increasing completed purchases by 20 percent.

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