Standing out from the crowd is not something we expect from Wal-Mart Stores Inc. (NYSE: WMT). After all, Walmart practically defines the crowd.
But the world’s largest retailer is not only going after the mass market this holiday. Walmart is trying a variety of things to make itself stand out, not just from the crowd, but from the 800-pound online sales gorilla, Amazon.com.
Like just about every other retailer around, Walmart kicks off holiday pricing and Black Friday deals in early November. Just as lots of shoppers have figured out that many of the best deals in physical stores become available on Black Friday, they have also figured out that online prices are best on Cyber Monday. How does Walmart make that work to its advantage?
Here’s a list of eight things Walmart is doing during the five-day shopping period from Thanksgiving through Cyber Monday to boost its sales. Not all are unique to Walmart, but what may be different is the breadth of the company’s promotional push.
Black Friday sales extended through Sunday night
At Walmart, Black Friday does not end until midnight Sunday and Cyber Monday begins just one minute later. Last year, Walmart kicked off Cyber Monday on Black Friday. Shoppers who want the best Cyber Monday deals now have to wait until Monday although Black Friday has been extended through Sunday.
Save by opening a Walmart credit card account
This is by no means unique to Walmart, but it is an offer than many of the store’s customers may want to take advantage of.
Cyber Monday live TV
The company is live streaming a series of one-hour shows beginning at 9:00 a.m. ET highlighting merchandise and special Cyber Monday pricing.
Sharp discounts on lots of items
Again, not unique to Walmart, but the store offered much better deals on new Apple iPhones and Samsung Galaxy and Note devices than did Amazon. Walmart also offered a 55-inch, 4K smart TVs at less than $300 for Black Friday; for Cyber Monday, a 55-inch Roku 4K HDR smart TV is available for less than $380, more than half off the list price.
Store-pickup can save customers money
Walmart has been promoting its “order online, pick-up in store” for some time now and provided the store executes, this will become a very popular way for its customers to save money on shipping without having to buy a membership or spend more than a specified amount of money. As the holiday gets nearer and shipping prices rise this could be a significant differentiator for Walmart.
Categorized gift guide
A handy way to search for gifts in a variety of categories including Tech, Hobby, and Stocking Stuffers. It’s really an idea generator and could be quite useful in finding a gift for that hard-to-shop-for person on your list.
In categories from home goods to toys Walmart offers items exclusive to the store. For example, the company’s Mainstays brand 700W microwave oven for $44.48. A quick search at Amazon shows a similar product for $34.44, but the buyer has to pay $19.99 for shipping.
Specialized gift cards
Walmart offers gift cards not only for use in its own stores (again not unique), but for dozens if not hundreds of other businesses. Gift cards for both Apple and Google are available as are gift cards for both Hulu and Netflix. The Black Friday offer of a $300 Walmart gift card with the purchase of an iPhone 8, 8 Plus, or X was a wildly popular doorbuster item and could well make an encore appearance on Cyber Monday but only online.