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Shopping Festival Shines Light on Walmart Customer Engagement in China

Last month’s Walmart-JD Omni-Channel Shopping Festival set records as the day’s combined transaction volume for Walmart’s e-commerce channels on JD.com were 13 times the previous 24-hour sales record, and Walmart physical stores also experienced a significant increase in traffic. The strong performance during the shopping festival underscored the synergies the companies have achieved through cross marketing over the last year.

The Walmart-JD Omni-Channel Shopping Festival is the most recent collaboration in the increasingly close partnership between the two companies. Through the ongoing integration of the two companies’ customer bases, platforms, and inventories, Walmart has extended its reach to the 99 percent of China’s population covered by JD’s industry-leading delivery network. JD, meanwhile, can now offer its user base of more than 236.5 million consumers access to a vast selection of high-quality international products from Walmart and its subsidiaries Sam’s Club and ASDA.

Loyalty360 caught up with Jordan Berke, vice president, Walmart eCommerce, Walmart China, to learn more about this intriguing festival.

What factors prompted this shopping festival with JD.com in China and what were Walmart’s goals for it from a customer engagement perspective?

Berke: The majority of consumers today shop both online and offline. Combining the resources of Walmart and JD creates an ecosystem that lets our customers shop the way they want. We have been working with JD.com since June 2016. It’s China’s leading e-commerce player, with 236.5 million users and a logistics network that covers 99 percent of the country, so it’s a great partner to further Walmart’s omnichannel strategy in China.

The new omnichannel shopping festival was a chance for us to encourage in-store shoppers to try our online stores and get Walmart products delivered fast, wherever they are in China. It also let us give online shoppers an incentive to shop offline.

Customers who shopped at our stores in the run up to the 8.8 festival got a voucher to use online, and we also included an augmented reality function in the JD app. Customers could scan a Walmart logo at a store and get discounts during the 8.8. shopping day. We also included a voucher for Walmart’s physical stores in all orders shipped from our stores on JD.com.

In addition, we hosted multiple live-streaming events during the shopping festival. Live-streaming is very popular in China and it’s a great way to engage with our audience and provide interactive experiences. We sent a crew to Walmart headquarters in Arkansas to film parts of the live streaming from the first Walmart store.

Did the festival exceed expectations?

Berke: This is our first omni-channel shopping festival and it definitely exceeded the expectations of Walmart and JD. The day’s combined transaction volume for Walmart’s e-commerce channels on JD.com was 13 times the previous 24-hour sales record. Not only that, our physical stores also experienced a significant increase in traffic throughout the shopping festival period, which began on July 20, and in the weeks since. The strong performance during the shopping festival underscores the synergies that Walmart and JD.com have achieved through cross-marketing over the last year.

What surprised Walmart the most and how can it be leveraged going forward to enhance the customer engagement/customer experience levels?

Berke: We were excited to see so much customer interest in China for this new type of shopping festival. The major shopping festivals in China have traditionally been online events, but we are taking it to a different level and creating customer excitement and a seamless experience across in-store and online channels. It’s great that we have been able to lay claim to the very auspicious 8.8 date. We’re already making plans to make next year’s event even more exciting.

We were also pleased to see how successful the festival was in bringing online customers into our Walmart stores. It’s all about the satisfaction of getting a good deal. In this case, creating interactives games that span the physical and online stores and giving customers incentives to shop with us helped make the experience even more fun.

What does this festival say about the state of global retail e-commerce?

Berke: We find that, when given the option, customers want to shop when, where, and how they choose. We’ve created an integrated way for them to do just that. Knowing they can trust Walmart and JD to shop in a store, online, and overseas with a high level of trust is very powerful. We will definitely organize future festivals to further integrate the online and offline shopping experience and combine shopping with fun to delight customers.

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