Walmart expands Spanish search on its website

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Diving brief:

  • To attract a wider customer base, Walmart extended a Spanish language search capability to its website, according to an announcement on Wednesday.
  • The retailer plans to further optimize its Spanish experience later this year. The company is working on predictive search and ongoing personalization and contextualization, according to the announcement.
  • The retailer first introduced a search translation feature on its website last year, allowing shoppers to search for desired items in Spanish. The company has added Spanish terms for more than 600,000 of its most frequently purchased items.

Overview of the dive:

Walmart’s decision stems from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and overall demographic trends. At the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, Walmart saw Spanish language queries increase more than five times from pre-pandemic levels as shoppers shopped more online. The company also cited projections estimating that Hispanic and Latino communities would make up more than a quarter of the U.S. population by 2060.

However, the retailer did not mention adding additional languages ​​for other popular communities in the United States. The country’s Asian population is expected to exceed 46 million by 2060according to the US Census Bureau, and the census has not historically distinction between white and middle eastern populations. The retailer did not immediately respond to a request for comment regarding its plans to add additional languages ​​to its online search feature.

“We serve all of America, so it’s only natural that we prioritize improving Spanish search functionality,” wrote Rini Joshi, senior product manager, and Amit Vasant Bande, senior product manager at Walmart, in the ad.

In addition to improving accessibility across its digital channels, the retailer has also focused on streamlining its mobile experience. In May 2020, Walmart combined its grocery app with the Walmart app, allowing shoppers to use a single app for in-store or delivery purchases. The move came after Walmart received customer complaints about having to navigate between the two apps.

Although e-commerce is expected to reach record highs this year, Walmart, like other retailers, has seen its e-commerce gains weighed down by changing consumer behavior. The retailer also saw its gross margin rate drop slightly at Q1, attributable to increased fuel, supply chain and fulfillment expenses. A The FTI Consulting report released earlier this month predicted that online retail sales will exceed $1 trillion this year, but the report also notes that shoppers are worried about rising prices and a possible recession, which could slow growth.

Walmart has also integrated more technology into its physical stores. In January, the retailer launched an interactive store concept in Springdale, Arkansas, which features dynamic displays, QR codes and digital screens. The company previously tested a navigation-focused store redesign and implemented those redesigns in nearly 1,000 stores.

About William G. Patrick

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