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Walmart Plans To Meet Changing Needs Of Customers For Holidays

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The holidays have arrived at Bentonville, Arkansas-based Walmart and the retailer has adapted to meet the evolving needs of its customers who plan to shop differently this holiday season. After closely watching changing customer shopping behaviors and speaking with customers over the past six months, the retailer is announcing how it plans to address three key shopping trends expected for this unique holiday season: an increase in online shopping, evolving wish lists and the need for a fast, easy – and safe – shopping experience.


Seasonal hiring to meet increased online shopping

To prepare for an expected increase in online shopping for the holidays, Walmart will hire more than 20,000 seasonal associates in its e-commerce fulfillment centers across the country. The jobs will cover a variety of positions, including order fillers and power equipment operators, that begin at a starting hourly rate ranging from $15.75 up to $23.75 based on location, position and schedule.

Seasonal employment will begin immediately upon hiring, with shifts scheduled as quickly as 48 hours from applying, and continue through Jan. 1, 2021. In many instances, these positions will have the opportunity to convert to regular employment.

These seasonal positions in Walmart’s e-commerce fulfillment centers follow the company’s hiring of more than 500,000 new associates since March across its stores and supply chain. These new jobs were created to ensure the retailer could provide essential items to customers during the COVID-19 pandemic.

With these new hires over the last six months, its new seasonal associates and ongoing hiring of full-time and part-time positions as needed in its stores, Walmart says it will be staffed and ready to serve customers for the holidays.

“The holidays are always a special time, and this year we think the season will mean even more to our customers. As more of them turn to online shopping, we want to ensure we’re staffed and ready to help deliver that special gift to their loved ones while continuing to fulfill our customer’s everyday needs,” said Greg Smith, EVP of supply chain for Walmart U.S. “We’re also proud to be able to continue to provide employment opportunities across the country when it’s needed most.”


Offering unexpected gifts now for early shopping

How customers shop isn’t the only difference Walmart expects this holiday season but also what customers will be shopping for. As customer shopping habits have changed over the past six months, the retailer is increasing availability of unexpected holiday gifts that reflect lifestyles in this “new normal,” including athleisure, loungewear and sleepwear for the family, outdoor grills, bicycles and exercise equipment and outdoor sporting equipment. And, to ensure it has great gifts for the newest member of many families since the pandemic began – pets – Walmart has increased its assortment and supply of pet products in its stores and online and is ready to sell more than 3 million comfy pet beds.

To ensure it offers gifts expected to top wish lists during this unique holiday season, Walmart has increased inventory in electronics, with a focus on TVs, laptops and video games. It will have more than 1,300 new toys, including puzzles, games and Legos and more than 800 Walmart-exclusives this holiday season. Walmart also has expanded its Holiday Bake Center to more of its stores and is increasing availability of popular kitchen appliances, like the KitchenAid Plus Stand Mixer.

Walmart is offering these holiday gifts now in its stores and on Walmart.com. This move is based on research insights that show 87 percent of customers who shopped Walmart over the past six months say they plan to seek out deals and great prices earlier this year to better prepare for the holiday season, with one in three customers planning to start their holiday shopping before early November.

“Over the past six months, our customers have been shopping differently, and we expect that will continue into the most important shopping season of the year – the holidays,” said Scott McCall, EVP and chief merchandising officer for Walmart U.S. “We’ve heard from our customers that many plan on starting their holiday shopping well before Black Friday and that they’re looking for gifts that fit their current lifestyle. So, we’ve adjusted our strategy to adapt to these new shopping preferences. We’re offering more of what they want now, earlier than ever, and all at the best prices.”

Walmart also is promising an all-new Black Friday experience. The retailer will spread traditional Black Friday savings throughout the season and have more deals available online. More details will be shared soon.


A safe shopping experience

The health and safety of its customers and associates is Walmart’s top priority. Over the past six months, the retailer has taken many steps to help ensure a safe in-store shopping experience for both its customers and associates, which will continue through the holiday season, including:

  • Reduced Store Hours: Walmart stores, Supercenters and Neighborhood Markets will continue to be closed to customers overnight to give associates extra time to clean and sanitize stores and stock shelves.
  • Required Face Coverings: Associates and customers will continue to be required to wear masks or other face coverings while in Walmart stores.
  • Sneeze Guards: Plastic barriers will remain in Walmart pharmacies, at checkout and at other points of sale to distance customers and associates.
  • Traffic Management: To manage customer flow and traffic, Walmart has vestibules divided into separate entrances and exits, social distancing floor decals and airs overhead announcements urging proper hygiene and the need to socially distance.

The retailer also offers several convenient ways for customers to safely find all of the gifts on their list, whether they prefer to shop in store or on Walmart.com, including:

  • Contactless pickup and delivery services such as: Pickup and Delivery on more than 160,000 items that can be picked up or delivered as soon as the same day.
  • Express Delivery on a wide assortment of items delivered within two hours, pending eligibility and customer location.
  • Free NextDay or Free Two-Day Shipping on online orders over $35, pending eligibility and customer location.
  • Contactless payment in stores: Customers can pay in a Walmart store contact-free on any register when using Walmart Pay via the Walmart app.
  • Walmart+ benefits: Customers can also sign up for a Walmart+ membership for $98 a year to receive unlimited free delivery from stores, including on gifts, like electronics and toys, fuel discounts and access to tools, like Scan & Go, that let customers scan their items as they shop and pay using Walmart Pay for a quick, easy, touch-free payment experience.

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