Wal-Mart is taking a different approach to digital this holiday, including its controversial decision to maintain a $50 threshold for free shipping. The world's largest retailer recently rolled out a new mobile check-in capability, rebranded its in-store pick-up locations, and released its Black Friday circular on its mobile app ahead of the print version.
And for the first time ever, the vast majority of Wal-Mart's Black Friday deals will be available online hours before its stores open.
"We're agnostic about [where people shop], and so we should be, Greg Foran, CEO of Wal-Mart U.S., said at the time. "Our job is pretty simple: To give the customer what they want."
Despite these plans, some analysts aren't yet convinced that Wal-Mart's investments are bearing enough fruit.
Stifel Nicholas' David Schick told investors on Tuesday, "We believe Wal-Mart should be achieving higher levels of growth in the e-commerce business given investments, changing customer preferences, and the acquisition of [Chinese online retailer] Yihaodian."
Despite their digital challenges, both Wal-Mart and Target posted another round of improved sales results during the quarter, helping to allay investor fears that consumers aren't spending.
"Target putting up a 1.9 percent comp, for a $70 billion company with 20 percent of the mix in that troubled apparel weather-sensitive category, I look at the results and I say, 'You know what, that's pretty good,' " JP Morgan analyst Chris Horvers said.