By Brianna Ahearn, contributing writer
In October, Walmart updated its Android app with a new feature known as “Search My Store,” and has now finished adding the same update to its iOS app. The announcement of the feature came on the @WalmartLabs Blog. Walmart's competitor, Target, recently added the same feature to their app in anticipation of Black Friday, but while the Target app features in-store mapping, the Walmart feature tells app users what aisle the product they seek is in, the store price, and the online ratings. Walmart has implemented the feature for all of its more than 4,300 stores.
The app lets shoppers who are looking for a particular item by-pass having to flag down an associate and search the aisles quickly when shopping. Unlike Target's app, which works only when a shopper is physically in a store, Walmart's “Search My Store” feature works whether a shopper is at home, on the road, or in the store to look at real-time inventory. Users can set their “home store” in the Walmart app, then click “Search My Store” to run their search. The marrying of the in-store experience with an online experience also lets budget-conscious shoppers comparison shop. Presumably, customers who know Walmart has a certain item in stock will opt to stop in their local store after checking on the availability on the app, rather than go to a competitor.
“Search My Store” works in a number of product categories, including electronics, groceries, home products, and more. The new feature is a welcome addition to the Walmart app, which already features a scanner, shopping list, weekly ad and more. In September, the company launched Savings Catcher, a feature that allows consumers to scan their receipts into the app to run a price comparison, with Walmart refunding the difference in a gift card if a lower price was found at a competitor. This plus the addition of “Search My Store” gives the company an edge over other retailers who haven't integrated smartphones and tablets into their existing omni-channel approach. Forbes and other business publications note that the Walmart app helps bridge the gap between the physical and online. As Walmart already maintains a real-time inventory for its stores for Walmart.com visitors, “Search My Store” didn't entail a massive investment into technology.
Walmart appears pleased with the consumer response to “Search My Store” according to the blog post. “We’re off to a great start as over 99% of our stores have already been searched by Search my Store and we plan to make additional improvements based on feedback from our customers,” the company says.