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If you need to pick something up from the store but are in an area you've never been to before, you can always head to the closest Walmart. Aside from minor design differences and some distinctive regional offerings, most Walmart locations are nearly identical—especially when it comes to their low prices and large inventories. But now, this big-box retailer is getting ready to shake things up for consumers in a way it never has before. Read on to find out what unprecedented change Walmart is making for all shoppers.
Walmart has made a number of changes for shoppers recently.
Despite its widespread familiarity, Walmart doesn't mind shaking things up. Several of these changes have occurred in just the last few months—and they've largely been to shoppers' benefit.
In January, Walmart partnered with Angi to allow customers to add a home assembly service to their Walmart orders, both in-store and online. Then in March, Walmart gave a face lift to its online platform by launching a new online fitting room tool that allows a shopper to pick a model who most closely resembles their height, shape, and skin tone when looking for clothing on the retailer's website.
Since then, Walmart has planned for much more intensive redesigns, including a different look and feel to attract a broader clientele. And as it turns out, Walmart isn't done making upgrades to the way you shop.
The retailer is now making an unprecedented change for shoppers.
Walmart is now gearing up to roll out what is being described as a "first-of-its-kind" change—for any company. According to an announcement released June 16, the big-box retailer is partnering with the popular video streaming company Roku in an initiative to "make TV streaming the next e-commerce shopping destination." Through the partnership, consumers will be able purchased products directly on Roku, and these orders will get fulfilled by Walmart, which is serving as the "exclusive retailer" for the program.
"We're working to connect with customers where they are already spending time, shortening the distance from discovery and inspiration to purchase," William White, the chief marketing officer for Walmart, said in a statement. "No one has cracked the code around video shop-ability. By working with Roku, we're the first to market retailer to bring customers a new shop-able experience and seamless checkout on the largest screen in their homes—their TV."
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Roku users will be able to buy Walmart products without leaving the streaming platform.
It appears Walmart and Roku are aiming to make this as seamless a transaction for all shoppers as possible—so much so that they won't even need to leave their Roku platform to make a purchase. According to the announcement, the two companies said that when viewers see a product they want to buy while streaming, they can use their remote to press "OK" on the "shop-able ad," and then they will immediately be sent to checkout, where their payment details will be already pre-populated from Roku's payment platform, Roku Pay. After they tap "OK" again on their remote, the order will be placed, and a Walmart purchase confirmation will be emailed to the viewer with information for shipping, returns, and support.
"We're making shopping on TV as easy as it is on social," Peter Hamilton, head of TV Commerce for Roku, said in a statement. "For years, streamers have purchased new Roku devices and signed up for millions of subscriptions with their Roku remote. Streaming commerce brings that same ease and convenience to marketers and shoppers."
This program is expected to expand over time.
In their announcement, Walmart and Roku described the new shop-able ad initiative as a "first pilot program," which likely means that only some users will have access to it at the start, according to The Verge. But the companies also indicated that they plan to "continue to evolve" their efforts to meld the worlds of television streaming and commerce over time.
"Future iterations of this pilot will look for opportunities to build deeper commerce experiences that meet customers where they are," Walmart and Roku said in the announcement. Sarah Saul, a spokesperson for Roku, told The Verge that the streaming platform is already planning to start testing ads from "brands that sell through Walmart before the end of the year."
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