Walmart Previews Home Furnishings Website

exterior of a Walmart store
Mike Mozart / CC BY 2.0

BENTONVILLE, Ark. – Walmart’s latest move to better compete with Amazon features a sleek, new online home goods shopping page that will debut in the coming weeks. Analysts say it’s a big e-commerce redesign that Walmart hopes will get its digital sales growth back on track.

Walmart, which has reported slowing online sales, contends the new page will give its online customers choices along with more polished photos that will help them with ideas on how to transform rooms in their apartment or house.

Anthony Soohoo, a senior vice president for Walmart U.S. eCommerce, says the retailer chose home goods because “the consumer does not really know what they want to purchase until they see it, which was one of the reasons why it was really important for us to build a very visual shopping experience.''

Soohoo adds the new site will make it faster and easier for customers to browse and purchase merchandise across the category. It will feature curated collections and nine shop-by-style options, including modern, mid-century, traditional, glam, industrial, bohemian, farmhouse, transitional, and Scandinavian. Other new features include editorial-style imagery and 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,” Soohoo said. “Now, it is going to be that much easier for customers to shop these items.”

The new page is just one step of a broader revamp of that the retailer plans to unveil later in 2018. Clothing is also slated to get a makeover. And this spring, Walmart will introduce a Lord & Taylor dedicated “flagship store” on that will offer premium fashion brands directly from the department store retailer.

Neil Saunders, managing director of retail consultancy GlobalData, told USA Today that shopping online at Walmart “can be functional and uninspiring. Making the website more engaging will make the process more interesting for shoppers. ... (And home furnishings) are often considered purchases, so consumers like to understand products before buying them.''

Saunders adds that the home category makes financial sense because it is a fast-growing market with strong demand partly thanks to the robust housing market. “Also, home, and in particular furniture, is one of the areas where Amazon has been relatively less successful. Walmart has chosen a good category to drive sales," Saunders says.

Target is also upping its home game with its newest brand, Opalhouse, slated to launch in April with more than 1,300 items across a variety of home categories. Most of the items will be priced under $30. In a blog on the company’s website, Target chief merchandising officer Mark Tritton said Opalhouse is centered around an “eclectic aesthetic.”

“The introduction of Project 62 and Hearth & Hand with Magnolia accelerated a lot of positive momentum within our home business,” Tritton wrote. “Not only are our guests responding to the individual brands, but the new brands are driving traffic and sales across the entire store. The launch of Opalhouse helps round out our Home assortment.”