Easy Reorder, Wal-Mart‘s answer to Amazon‘s Dash button, was unveiled Wednesday, the latest example of the Bentonville, Ark.-based retailer giant’s aggressive omnichannel push since its acquisition of Jet.com in August.
“Easy Reorder contributed to the growth we saw in the first quarter,” said Jordan Sweetnam, vice president of customer experience and product at Wal-Mart global e-commerce, referring to the period’s 63 percent increase in online sales, which were also impacted by recent acquisitions. “It’s going to be a game-changer.”
Now available on desktops and the Wal-Mart mobile app, Easy Reorder integrates in-store and online purchases. “We’re providing you with a single spot to view and repurchase the items you buy most frequently, like dog food, cereal, shampoo and diapers,” Sweetnam said. “The site remembers the walmart.com items you purchased, but also the diapers you bought in your local store.”
According to Sweetnam, the list-building feature of Easy Reorder allows consumers to create lists of frequently purchased items simply by going to a store and buying everything they need. “Building a list of individual products takes a really long time,” he said. “Now, when you come home, everything will be neatly organized on walmart.com.”
Wal-Mart said Easy Reorder “is part of our team’s laser focus on helping customers save both money and time by leveraging our more than 4,700 stores and walmart.com,” a reminder that Amazon lacks the physical retail infrastructure to build and exploit synergies between the two platforms.
Wi-Fi-connected Dash buttons were introduced in 2015 for Prime members for a limited number of branded products such as Tide and Ziploc. Amazon quickly realized that it needed to add buttons for more products and last year added 100 additional ones. The program, which is said to have grown to some 300 buttons, reportedly introduced its first for apparel for Calvin Klein.
Meanwhile, on the grocery wars front, Wal-Mart is testing 24-hour automated 20-by-80-foot kiosks that can hold up to 30,000 products, to challenge Amazon Go, a type of store that’s said to feature the newest technology. Shoppers placing an online order with a store, choose the self-service option to order from the 24-Hour Pickup kiosk. When the order is ready — usually in 60 seconds — they enter the code they received at the drive-up kiosk.
Grocery is shaping up to be a key battleground between Amazon and Wal-Mart. Amazon in June raised the ante with its acquisition of Whole Foods Market. The online giant hasn’t divulged its plans for the upscale supermarket chain, retail experts have said the acquisition demonstrates Amazon’s interest in physical retail. But Amazon operates a little more than 400 stores while Wal-Mart’s fleet numbers 5,000. Wal-Mart is testing both high-tech and low-tech solutions to delivery with an employee delivery service.