Walmart Gets An “A” For Ecommerce

At a time when so many consumers are focused on shopping for the holidays, it amazes me that more retailers aren’t offering services similar those being offered by Walmart.

This weekend I was coordinating with my mother on locating a Christmas gift for my always-difficult-to-shop-for 13-year old niece. Having failed miserably, I went online to check out Walmart’s inventory, handicapped by the knowledge that my mother would prefer to purchase the item in the store.

What I found was a pleasant surprise: Walmart’s site-to-store. I’ll spare the details, but in a nutshell, ordered the product online and had it shipped for free to a store of my choosing.

In an industry that place so much emphasis on the importance of ecommerce and fulfilling the customer experience across multiple channels, the disconnect found between Web sites, brick-and-mortar locations, and CRM systems is baffling. Many retailers are just beginning to integrate these channels, both in terms of inventory management and fulfillment services.

In terms of service, many retailers that have both an online retail site and a phone-based catalog have failed to, or are just beginning to, integrate the two. The result is a consumer can spend hours surfing a company’s Web site, then call the contact center only to discover the agent has no knowledge or the shopper’s presence or activities.

It’s a problem we still see many of our own customers attempting to tackle, usually by building custom integrations between lead sources and certain Web pages on their Web site into SugarCRM’s reporting and case management engine. Whatever the channels, the results are usually a more consistent experience across a multitude of channels and improved ROI thanks to happier customers.