Toys ‘R’ Us is officially out of business. And given how many legacy brands have filed for bankruptcy protection over the last few years — RadioShack, Claire’s and The Limited among them — it’s likely that some other big names will join it in the retail graveyard. Amazon is often a scapegoat and for a while, it looked like Walmart might become the ecommerce giant’s biggest casualty.

Of course, Amazon isn’t really responsible. But if there’s one thing the company has done, it’s accelerated the notion that as the retail landscape rapidly evolves, retailers have two options: Adapt or die.

Walmart is adapting. Following several consecutive bad quarters, the company prioritized ecommerce and technology. Walmart acquired one ecommerce marketplace ( and invested in another (China’s They also added more fulfillment centers and introduced free two-day shipping.

The turnaround was so great that L2 Digital Research referred to Walmart — the largest retailer in the world — as a digital disruptor. But the growth has stagnated. Ecommerce sales decelerated over the last year and now the company is banking on personalization for its next boost.

Walmart - decelerating ecommerce growth

Acceleration via Personalization

Walmart recently announced an upcoming website redesign, scheduled for May. The site will have a clean, modern look, with new colors and fonts. However, the makeover is far more than cosmetic.

The upcoming will be personalized, both individually and regionally. Shoppers will see products that are trending in their respective areas. They’ll also get local store profiles that include the in-store services available nearby, such as online grocery. L’Occitane has seen success from this strategy; region-specific checkout pages helped increase mobile sales by 15%. Similarly, the beauty brand increased sales by 10% after localizing mobile ads.

Walmart’s new personalized website will also include product recommendations based on each shopper’s browsing and purchase histories.


It’s no secret that shoppers prefer personalization. According to Demandware research, the consumers who clicked on a recommended product had a 10% higher average order value. Thirty-seven percent also returned to the website, compared with 19% of those who didn’t click on a recommendation.

Keeping Up with Amazon

Many of the upcoming website features will help Walmart compete with Amazon, the brand’s biggest rival. Amazon’s success is partially built on personalization. In fact, SmarterHQ found that if a brand doesn’t have personalized recommendations, 47% of consumers will ditch that website for Amazon.

The new will be equipped with order status and replenishment features. Easy Reorder makes it easy for regular customers to stock up on staples, for example. These ecommerce enhancements factor into Walmart’s biggest advantage over Amazon: physical space. Given today’s complicated customer journey, every retailer must offer omnichannel shopping experiences. In addition to things like in-store pickup and in-app payments, Walmart expanded its grocery delivery options, thanks to a new partnership with Postmates.

Another Amazon advantage is its tremendous inventory. Walmart is also beefing up its own, with specialty shopping experiences on the site for categories such as home and fashion. Because the brand noticed an uptick of people searching for higher-end items, Walmart partnered with Lord & Taylor and its online flagship store will launch on later this year.

Walmart home shopping experience

Walmart’s website redesign comes at the perfect time, as we’re starting to work on our next Retail Personalization Index. Last year, Walmart placed third out of 100 brands. Time will tell if the new helps the brand bump JustFab or Sephora for that first or second place spot.