retail news in context, analysis with attitude

Walmart has opened two small format “pop-up” stores - one 3,000 square feet, the other 1,000 square feet - in a pair of Southern California malls, using the locations to display hot holiday items that can be ordered and either picked up at local Walmart stores, delivered to shoppers’ homes, or picked up later at the mall stores, which are called “Walmart.com.”

The selection is focused on toys and electronics, and the stores do not feature food or convenience items.

The local NBC News affiliate in San Diego notes that “it is a typical store front space with big screen TV's on the wall, some computers and tablets on the desks and toys on a shelf. But the idea isn't to sell the TV's and toys in the store but to direct customers to shop online.”

One of the stores is in West Los Angeles, and the other is in San Diego. Walmart has been clear about the fact that these are just small tests.
KC's View:
Actually, I think while these may be tests, they actually reflect a broader strategy, which is to expand the company’s footprint and become ubiquitous enough that it overcomes some of the image problems from which Walmart has recently suffered.

Think about these tests in a different concept. In essence, the Tesco test of a virtual store using QR codes in the South Korean subway system is a technological pop-up store, and what Walmart is doing is a kind of lower tech version of this. If the broader strategic approach works, Walmart could conceivably decide to test other approaches, some of them as high tech as what Tesco has been playing with - and that could help it compete more effectively with Amazon. And that’s the long-term play.