Internet and Mortar, Great Product Copywriting

Walmart Expands Its E-Commerce Strategy

The fact that Walmart competes with nearly everyone in retail, with stores appearing aggressively in a range of urban, suburban, and rural environments in 27 countries, is accepted without question. Currently, however, the multinational corporation is setting its sights on increasing its e-commerce presence. This raises a lot of questions in regard to Walmart’s intentions and strategy, and perhaps most pressing among those questions is: What will this mean for Amazon?

Walmart’s overall sales are currently 10 times greater than those of Amazon, but its online retail sales are only about 1/10 of Amazon’s. Now, with Amazon increasingly moving into CPG sales, Walmart needs to find new ways to tap into the realm of e-commerce.

It could be argued that, for once, Walmart is acting on the defensive and struggling to keep up with Amazon’s online retailing numbers. However, a recent article in Ad Age provides an analysis of Walmart’s early e-commerce strategy that reveals an innovative approach to integrating online retail with brick and mortar.

In addition to providing incentives for store managers and employees to promote online and social media (including, a new iPad app, the My Local Walmart Facebook app, and its upcoming refurbished iPhone app), Walmart is using its existing and new stores as a logistical and marketing advantage. The corporation can leverage the physical presence of so many stores┬áto decrease the cost of shipping services. Walmart can also offer the option of picking up online orders in stores–a practice that generates an average $60 additional spending on the same trip.

Walmart plans to continue expanding its locations with scaled-down stores, including supermarket-size ones and even smaller Walmart Express locations. This will bring the integrated brick and mortar into even closer contact with its consumers, something that Amazon can’t accomplish. Walmart could change the way we think about the relationship between online and store retail. At this point, though, its strategy is still far from complete–a new team was just named to flesh out and refine the current details. Stay tuned.


Content with a Human Touch

New attention to online retailing from corporations like Walmart means, as always, that online retailers will need to renew their commitment to effective content merchandising. Econsultancy has published an article with five examples of solid product page copywriting, along with a helpful list of “ingredients” for great product page copy.

The article wastes no time telling us why well-written content is so important, citing SEO benefits and conversion rates as two areas that are undeniably affected by the way content is crafted and presented. Throughout the list of good copy “ingredients,” the article reminds us that there is no substitute for content written by a real human being. One of the included page descriptions is, wonderfully enough, from the J Peterman Company, allowing us to imagine both the cinematic power of a grey jacket and the content merchandising possibilities of the urban sombrero.

In all seriousness, these details are what help companies increase online sales. Creating and maintaining a product-appropriate tone of voice and taking the time to write unique descriptions while resisting the urge to stuff pages full of keywords will offer undeniable sales increases no matter what type of product you offer.



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