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13 Reasons to Shop at Walmart (Even If You Hate Walmart)

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10.08.2021

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It's fair to say many shoppers nurse a love-hate relationship with Walmart. Prices are competitive (love), but the giant retailer consistently receives low marks in customer satisfaction surveys (hate). And yet, 240 million shoppers worldwide still visit its stores every week in 2021, so Walmart must be doing something right, even though that number has been in a troubling downward trajectory since 2019, when 275 million people passed through Walmart's doors worldwide weekly. If, like me, you abandoned Walmart years ago, it may be time to reconsider. The Bentonville, Ark.-based company has been fast remaking itself, sending shots over the bows of rivals ranging from Target and Amazon to just about every supermarket chain within shouting distance, including Aldi, Safeway, Kroger and even upscale Whole Foods.

"Walmart sells just about everything you could ever need so planning a trip to this big box retailer could make your life easier and reduce the need to go into multiple stores,” says consumer savings expert Andrea Woroch.

Changes are happening both online and in-store. In an effort to accelerate its e-commerce business, Walmart paid $3 billion for online retail giant Jet.com. It also spent $16 billion buying the Indian online retail powerhouse Flipkart. In addition, it revamped its once-clunky Walmart.com website. The efforts are paying off. According to eMarketer, Walmart's sales rose 6% year-over-year in the last fiscal quarter, ending May 1. Online sales, which have more than doubled in the last two years, helped fuel the surge. They climbed 37% year-over-year, eMarketer notes, and Walmart reported in February its fiscal year 2020 online sales grew 79%

Walmart's e-commerce sales in 2020 claimed 5.3% of the market, the second largest. But it has a long way to go to catch Amazon in that department, with the online giant claiming 38.7% of U.S. e-commerce sales. Behind Walmart was eBay (4.7%), Apple (3.7%), The Home Depot (1.7%), Wayfair (1.5%), Best Buy (1.3%) and Target (1.2%). As for its physical stores, Walmart is spending more than $14 billion in 2021, mostly on automation and supply chain. It's also looking at major store redesigns, with airport-like signage and better integrations with its proprietary app to help customers more easily find items.

We checked out a couple of Walmart stores in central Virginia to take in some of the changes unfurled by Uncle Wally. We've also been tracking new features and services across Walmart.com, and spoke with some shopping experts. Take a look at what you'll find.

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Courtesy Walmart

Walmart in 2018 overhauled produce sections at many of its 4,743 U.S. stores. Depending on your neighborhood store, you’ll also find gourmet cheeses, charcuterie and sushi. The bakery aisle got a makeover, too. It’s all part of a bid by Walmart to make its look and grocery lineup more upscale, an effort that continues. The company even opened a Culinary & Innovation Center test kitchen near its Arkansas headquarters to develop new food items.

And here’s something I thought I’d never see at Walmart: A healthy push into the world of organic foods. While the chain is phasing out the Wild Oats organic brand from its shelves, it’s replacing it with newly launched organic items from its low-cost Great Value line.

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Courtesy Walmart

The stalwart front-of-the-store Walmart greeter is being phased out. Walmart is replacing its "people greeters"........

© Kiplinger


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