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Walmart helps customers buy online in-store

New service lets store associates place Walmart.com orders

Bolstering its omnichannel capabilities, Walmart is leveraging its huge store workforce to facilitate e-commerce purchases.

Through a new service called the Dotcom Store, shoppers can ask Walmart store associates to place a Walmart.com order for them via an app on their handheld touchscreen device.

The Bentonville, Ark.-based retail giant said the Dotcom Store service is now offered in almost all 4,700 Walmart stores (except in Alaska, Hawaii and Puerto Rico) and will be available year-round. Customers can order items sold and shipped by Walmart online, choose store pickup or home delivery, and pay with cash, check, credit/debit or Walmart Pay.

“The Dotcom Store offers customers even more assortment options than what’s on our physical shelves, whether that be different sizes, colors or varieties,” Tom Ward, senior vice president of digital and central operations for Walmart U.S., said in a statement. “As busy families come to our stores to prepare for the holidays, they can feel confident that our associates will get them everything they need and quickly, whether it’s an item they can find on our store shelves or online.”

Walmart noted that the service improves the in-store shopping experience. When customers can’t find a certain product in the store, can’t locate the right size or color, or discover that an item is out of stock or unavailable in stores, they just need to hail a Walmart associate. That associate then uses the Dotcom Store app on his or her mobile device to look up the desired item and then place the order for the customer, who receives a printed ticket or email/text with a barcode that lets them to pay at any register in-store. The shipment process gets under way after the customer pays for the item to complete the transaction.

“You can find a ton of items in a Walmart store. But sometimes you’re on the hunt for something incredibly specific. Like a Wonder Woman coffeemaker. Or a shade of lipstick to match a brand-new dress. Wouldn’t it be magical if that item was secured for you to order instantly in store, and you leave, having marked it off your list?” Walmart said in a blog post on the Dotcom Store launch. “We think so, and that’s why we’ve introduced a new in-store app that gives our store associates the power of Walmart.com right at their fingertips.”

Walmart said that “in the near future” it plans to add marketplace items sold on Walmart.com to the products that can be purchased through the Dotcom Store app.

The service furthers Walmart’s efforts to bring its “endless online aisle of merchandise” to its physical stores, allow customers to choose how they want to pay and complete purchases in a seamless transaction, the company added.

For example, in April, Walmart began piloting Check Out With Me, a service that provides on-the-spot customer checkout. In the Lawn & Garden Centers of more than 350 stores, the retailer equipped associates with cellular devices and Bluetooth printers. When shoppers are ready to pay, an associate scans their items with the Check Out With Me mobile device, swipes their payment card, and provides a printed or digital receipt.

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