Author: Jessica Bursztynsky & Courtney Reagan
- Walmart is adding thousands of new baby products online and dozens of new brands.
- It also announced additions to its baby registry that allows users to interact with a chatbot “Hoo the Owl” to get personalized recommendations.
- Retailers have been revamping their baby departments after Babies R Us closed in 2018.
Walmart announced its new online baby registry Thursday morning, as the world’s largest retailer continues its aim to grab the market share left by the Babies R Us liquidation.
Online traffic to Walmart’s babies pages is up 30% year over year, according to the retailer, but a spokeswoman declined to provide specific sales figures for the category.
In this revamp, Walmart is adding “thousands” of new baby products online and “dozens” of new baby brands in-store, according to a blog post.
It also announced new mobile features that make it easier to create, and buy, from baby registries. Users can share their registry, use Siri to open it, easily mark items as purchased and add items to their list while browsing in-store.
This comes at a time where 8 in 10 parents are using a mobile device to create registries, according to the company.
Walmart also announced “Hoo the Owl,” which is a new chatbot that asks registrants questions about the baby’s due date, its gender (gender neutral is an option) and nursery theme and then provides them with personalized choices based on the responses. The company is expecting to add on to Hoo the Owl’s list of questions, such as whether the consumer has preferences about organic and sustainable products.
The end-goal is to develop trust with mom and dad, hoping to hang onto them for purchasing well beyond the baby’s birth.
“We want to be there for mom and dad with everything they are looking for, and through experiences that make shopping for those items easy and fun,” Lauren Uppington, vice president and general manager for baby of Walmart U.S. eCommerce said. “Today’s announcement is the latest in that effort, and we have plenty more to come.”
A Walmart spokesperson said that new parents often reduce the number of retailers they visit after a child is born to three from six.
“We also know that after a customer, who has registered with Walmart, has their baby, they significantly increase their spend with Walmart across all categories,” she said.
Since the 2018 liquidation of Toys R Us led to the shutdown of Babies R Us stores, retailers have been trying to seize the opportunity to gain that market share.
In January, Target expanded its in-house brand Cloud Island to include more essential baby items, like diapers and toiletries. As CNBC previously reported, Target has said its revamps in its baby department have led to sales increases. It’s also done well with its registry, with sign-ups growing by a double-digit percentage last year.