With Thanksgiving approaching, everyone wants a piece of Walmart’s sweet potato pie. After a video review went viral last week, the Patti LaBelle-branded dessert became a prized commodity, selling for up to $40 on eBay – more than ten times its original store price.
Grocery items are one of Walmart’s major business components and account for 56% of its sales. While the retailer has historically trailed competitors in areas like fresh produce and customer service, recent improvements resulted in the year’s strongest quarter of food sales growth, helping Walmart beat its Q3 earnings target.
Walmart also outperforms supermarkets in digital. It ranks second (“Gifted”) in L2’s Digital IQ Index: Big Box with a Digital IQ of 137, far above the subcategory’s average Digital IQ of 74 (“Challenged). The worst performing Grocery brand, Trader Joe’s, ranks 60th out of 61 brands.
As a whole, grocery stores have failed to invest in desktop sites and mobile, as well as social media. While Walmart has invested in its mobile app, incentivizing downloads with savings and sneak previews, supermarkets have been slow to invest in mobile features. And while Walmart is one of the Index leaders in omnichannel, adopting more than 80% of 16 features examined in L2’s study such as real-time store inventory and in-store pickup, the study finds that Grocery retailers lag behind.
Admittedly, Walmart’s sheer size gives it a monumental advantage in mobile and omnichannel. However, social media platforms (with the exception of pay-to-play platform Facebook) are where brands with smaller budgets can catch up. Yet supermarkets are widely absent from social platforms. (Case in point: Trader Joe’s lacks a single social media account, despite its popularity with millennials.)
Meanwhile, Walmart wins YouTube, posting all of the ten most popular videos by any Big Box retailer. While the pie reviewer doesn’t seem to be affiliated with Walmart, Grocery brands could learn from his strategy.
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