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Walmart is offering its first glimpse of a redesigned Walmart.com, starting in the home department.
The big-box retailer is preparing to roll out a revamped portion of its website, dedicated to home goods and furnishings. The experience will officially go live within the next few weeks, Walmart said Thursday. The move takes aim at Target, which has been investing heavily in its exclusive home brands; Amazon, which has been doing more of the same; and furniture companies like Wayfair, Stanley Furniture, Ikea and La-Z-Boy.
A new landing page on Walmart.com will feature collections of furniture that are grouped by trends and put together by in-house stylists. Shoppers will be able to choose from nine styles: modern, midcentury, traditional, glam, industrial, bohemian, farmhouse, transitional and Scandinavian. The page will also offer design tips.
"Over the past year, we've nearly doubled our home assortment and introduced a wide variety of furniture and home decor items, like a new Scandinavian line of furniture for kids and refreshed assortment of modern furniture," said Anthony Soohoo, senior vice president of Walmart's e-commerce home division. "Now, it is going to be that much easier for customers to shop these items and more."
Walmart's head of e-commerce, Marc Lore, has said certain categories within retail, including home goods and apparel, merit a more personal shopping experience online. That's why the company is pursuing creating virtual showrooms for its wool rugs, crystal chandeliers and dining room tables, among other items.
Earlier this week, Walmart's fiscal fourth-quarter earnings report revealed e-commerce growth was cooling off and its profit margins were being squeezed, again. Walmart shares tumbled more than 9 percent on the news, as investors feared the company might be losing steam in its ongoing battle with the king of e-commerce: Amazon.
But Walmart has a big year ahead of investments ahead to fuel its e-commerce business, the company said. Walmart is targeting online sales growth of 40 percent in fiscal 2019. An overhauled home shopping experience is just the start of these plans.
"We expect the Walmart.com site redesign to be more attractive, user friendly and include better search ability and functionality," said Susquehanna analyst Bill Dreher. The new website's technology, brought over from Jet.com, "is expected to change the economics of e-commerce to focus on a bigger basket (for example, be profitable with seven units per order rather than less or unprofitable at two units per order) and a basket of blended-margin merchandise to drive basket economics."
Later this year, Walmart will unveil its entirely redesigned website, which will also include merchandise from new brand partners such as Hudson's Bay-owned Lord & Taylor.