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Walmart’s CRM Gateway: Mobile Checkout?

September 5th, 2012

It’s clearly attractive, but the other benefits have much greater strategic benefit.

Of all the various mobile benefits at play here, CRM is the most intriguing. It’s a logical and natural consequence of the mobile program. Of course the app knows who the customer is—and if it didn’t, it would be able to do the linkage the first time a payment card is swiped.

But mobile CRM is potentially much more exhaustive than plastic CRM. Not only does it include every item scanned, but it would know every item scanned and then put back (deleted). It would know how long that item had been in the cart and exactly where customers were when the decision was apparently made. Did some signage change their mind? Was it a different product? Was it when the customer was near a free sample area? And if it was mobile signage, the system could look up to determine the exact ad being delivered at that exact moment.

How’s this for scary? Did two shoppers (each using mobile checkout) stop and seem to talk with each other? And did that immediately precede the product purchase changes? Is that other shopper—who is also known—an influencer?

I promised to get back to the quietness of this test. The program leaked out because of an August 27 6:06 AM memo sent to area Walmart employees. The memo—marked both urgent and Walmart confidential—was asking for volunteers and it seemed to allude to an unsuccessful earlier effort to recruit volunteers. “My apologies for the last-minute plea, but the invitation strategy we’d counted did not come through last week. So now it’s a bit of a last-minute scramble,” the Walmart Labs person wrote.

Here’s the odd part. The details of the offer were in an unsecured page at SurveyMonkey. If Walmart truly wanted to keep this effort quiet, that’s a very odd choice of where to store the details. The other odd part is that the memo was leaked to various media—including Reuters and The Wall Street Journal—almost simultaneously. Walmart also issued statements to quite a few media outlets confirming the details. All told, this is decidedly not how Walmart deals with sensitive matters it wants kept quiet. (And, yes, we at StorefrontBacktalk have a wee bit of experience dealing with Walmart on matters it wants kept quiet.) The possibility that Walmart wanted this information leaked nationally so that it could gauge consumer reaction is far from remote.

This mobile effort from Walmart is an exciting indicator of where mobile could go, especially with the world’s largest retailer seriously considering it. Is this related to Walmart’s leading the multi-retailer mobile Merchant Customer Exchange (MCX) effort? Is this new comfort with mobile related to Walmart’s newest and youngest board member, Google veteran and now Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer?

No matter who is behind these modernization moves, it’s a change that should be applauded. And, more importantly, copied.


One Comment | Read Walmart’s CRM Gateway: Mobile Checkout?

  1. My Sales Dialer (CRM+) Says:

    even small retailers loving to go techno for CRM


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