FAYETTEVILLE, Ark., Feb. 15, 2017 /PRNewswire/ -- Amid announcements and changes in the leadership of its online component, Walmart will be hosting its Supplier Growth Summit on Feb. 15-16 in Rogers. Eric Howerton, CEO of local digital marketing agency WhyteSpyder, knows that the agenda will likely include Walmart's push for better online integration and improved manufacturer-provided web content for every product they sell.
The way Howerton puts it, "You're no longer going to buy an item at a Walmart store or Walmart.com, you're just buying at Walmart."
Walmart CEO Doug McMillon calls this integration between site and store an "omnichannel plan," that aims to give shoppers a "seamless shopping experience… to save them time and money." To execute this, McMillon is asking manufacturers to supply unique content for each item they sell at Walmart.
"We're no longer in brand storytelling," according to Howerton, "We're in item storytelling."
Research has shown that more than 80% of U.S. consumers conduct online research before making purchases, and a similar percentage uses mobile phones or other devices to make their purchasing decisions. Howerton points out, however, that nearly 90% of retail sales still take place at the brick-and-mortar level, in stores.
Howerton attributes new developments in in-store technology, like virtual or augmented reality, to the narrowing divide between in-store and online shopping. Brands that produce content for each of their items across all channels consumers use will maintain an edge against competitors and see increased sales.
"Whoever figures out the data and content… will win this omnichannel race," Howerton said.
On Feb. 17 and Feb. 20 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., WhyteSpyder will be hosting a Q&A livestream to answer any questions suppliers may have following the Walmart summit meeting. Eric Howerton and WhyteSpyder Sr. Director of Account Services Joyce Grippi will field questions from their Fayetteville studio regarding ecommerce, omnichannel marketing, item-level storytelling, and the future of retail.
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