Panic-buying; a term we’ve said, read and heard a lot of lately. Before COVID-19, the idea of stock piling items from both brick & mortar stores and e-commerce sites seemed far-fetched. Fast forward four months and not only have we experienced panic-buying, but we’ve come out on the other side with evolving consumer buying behaviors and retail trends. While we wait to see where consumer trends like revenge spending followed by restrained spending and increased interest on digital experiences shake out, it’s likely that consumers will continue to prioritize convenience, safety and brand loyalty.
Walmart+, Walmart’s new subscription service announced last week, comes just as the retail giant has picked up countless new customers during the pandemic. Noted as a direct competitor of Amazon Prime, the service set to launch this month and could provide perks including same-day delivery for groceries and general merchandise, early access to product deals, fuel discounts at Walmart gas stations, and virtual entertainment for kids.
While initially expected to launch in April or March, Walmart held back due to the early stages of the pandemic. We may not know the exact reasoning, but we do know that consumers continue to consolidate shopping experiences online and with less trips, ultimately spending larger sums at fewer retailers. With increased focus on convenience, personal safety and online experience - in-turn lending to loyalty - it’s crucial that retailers don’t miss the mark. From marketing efforts and a seamless ordering and processing experience, to products being in the hands of the end-user, consumers are paying attention.
There’s a lot of discussion around how Walmart+ will stack up in comparison to Amazon, especially with Amazon’s fifteen year head start. While the verdict is out, the brand that can best respond to and position itself in front the evolving consumer, will be closest to the mark.
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The timing of the Walmart+ unveiling could both create opportunities for Walmart and present new challenges.