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Walmart.com tries to go modern with mobile-focused redesign

The retail king gives its website a much needed revamp with some Amazon-like features.


Walmart has redone its website in hopes of keeping up with its online competitors, including e-commerce giant Amazon.

With the new site, launched Monday, Walmart promised an improved personalized search engine, more in-depth product pages, and a mobile-friendly layout, while also continuing to pay attention to one of its main advantages over Amazon -- physical stores.

Walmart is trying to respond to its customers changing spending habits, which increasing includes shopping through mobile. Although online shopping is still a small piece -- roughly 6 percent last year -- of the retail pie, it is quickly growing and expected to reach 9 percent by the end of 2014, according to eMarketer.

The new site comes from Walmart's research and development team, Walmart Labs, based in the tech hub Silicon Valley.

"Updating the experience that millions of customers depend on isn't something we take lightly," Ben Galbraith, Walmart's vice president of global products for e-commerce, wrote in a blog post. "We're therefore being very deliberate about how we roll out these changes, taking it a step at a time and working closely with customers to get their input and making improvements as we go."

With personalized search, Walmart takes a page out of Amazon's handbook, using customers' past purchases and search history to surface other products they may want to buy. The retailer has just started to roll out the personalization, so only half of Walmart's customers will experience the new feature on Monday. Walmart said it will reach all its customers later this month.

The new layout includes bigger buttons and swipe functions, designed for easy mobile browsing, and a bigger search box with new search filters. The "My Local Store" tab spotlights deals and other information from local Walmart stores. The company said more features are on the way, including a faster checkout experience.