Walmart (NYSE:WMT) announced the first of its holiday savings programs for 2014. The big box retailer is offering deals on its broadest assortment ever, with pricing rollbacks on 20,000 items, double the amount of what's offered on a normal day. The company also announced a "Search My Store" feature within its mobile app to help customers locate products more easily.
Deals will begin when the stores open on Nov. 1, both online and in brick-and-mortar. "After Halloween, you will see the store shift to red and green on Saturday morning," said Steve Bratspies, executive VP, general merchandise, Walmart U.S. Savings will range from gifts and decorating items to grocery items needed for family gatherings.
"Helping families deliver an amazing Christmas doesn't start on Black Friday, it starts now," said Duncan Mac Naughton, chief merchandising officer, Walmart U.S. "As soon as they put away their Halloween costumes, our customers start prepping for Thanksgiving, buying Christmas trees and shopping for gifts. They want the best deals now and we're here for them today, next week and throughout the season. Our strategy is simple: Lead with low prices, offer the best brands, make shopping easier than ever and bring the holiday joy that only Walmart can deliver."
Walmart also announced the rollout of a new mobile app feature, "Search My Store," which allows customers to search for an item's availability in the store, find the aisle where it's located, and get ratings and reviews on the product. It's currently available on Android devices and will expand to iPhones by mid-November.
Also new this year, Walmart is sharing how-to videos, product demos, seasonal recipes and tips across multiple platforms including Pinterest, YouTube and Walmart.com
Phillip Oaks, VP of merchandising at Walmart e-commerce spoke of the company's "renewed emphasis on customer service," and spoke of the Checkout Promise, a previously announced pledge to make sure every register is open in every store during the busy holiday season.
On the e-commerce front, Walmart said its online retail selection has expanded to include 7 million items, one million more than last holiday season. And deals typically reserved for Black Friday or Cyber Monday will start on the company's website shortly after midnight pacific time on Nov. 3. Weekly online specials will include deals on electronics, apparel, home and toys.
Walmart will be offering same-day pickup in stores for no additional charge until products are not available. Having an item delivered for pickup in-store is always free of delivery charge and free shipping is available to shoppers' homes for orders $50 or more.
The company has recently made great strides in its omnichannel strategy. Walmart's recent launch of its first pickup grocery service is one example of how the retailer is looking to combine the online and offline shopping world.
-See this Walmart press release
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