Walmart’s ecommerce failure

Walmart wants to beat Amazon, desperately. This is why it’s so disappointing when they fail at basic app cart and checkout.

Yesterday, while shopping for the COVID-19 Corona-pocalypse, I decided to give Walmart a try. Theoretically, I could pick up the same day, or have things delivered the next day.

During Coronapocalypse, the shelves get stripped bare of things that don’t make sense. It’s not a hurricane, the municipal water will keep running.

In reality, I ended up saying, “motherfuckers” about 29 times and going to the store like a fool.

There were two problems that made the Walmart app shopping experience unforgivably bad.

I share the account with my wife. She and I add things to a shared cart, to make it easy to check out. This works in theory.

The first thing Walmart’s app does wrong

It turns out, if they’ve logged one phone out, and that person adds things to the cart, when they sign back in again, it loses everything in the cart.


The correct answer, Walmart app devs, is to merge the guest cart with the logged in cart: no items should ever be lost because you were logged out.

Fine. Now we go through the ordeal of adding 30 items back to the cart. Motherfuckers.

The second thing Walmart’s app does wrong

After adding 30 items to the cart, it’s time to checkout. Their flow requires you to check out and then decide if you’re doing delivery or pickup. Fine, this doesn’t bother me.

What does is the message displayed after tapping or clicking checkout:

What the fuck, motherfuckers?

Please remove all items except one from your cart, pay for that one item, and then repeat. For the next 29 items. Motherfuckers.

Counting through that, that’s 29 taps for save for later, checkout, complete checkout. Then tap Cart, then tap move to cart, checkout, complete checkout. 29, plus 3, plus 4*28 equals… 144 taps to check out 30 items.

144 taps, motherfuckers.

What actually went wrong here? As a user, I have no way of really knowing.

Things that usually happen with online purchase for physical delivery or pickup are, the item is in low quantity in store and they can’t be sure they have it in stock. Fine, the usual solution is to either offer a substitute or credit back at pickup time. None of that should have prevented checking out in one 30-item cart.

Walmart, if your ecommerce team is listening, I’m available to consult. You want to beat Amazon. This isn’t how you do it.

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