Gibu Thomas, head of mobile for Walmart, says the concept of “smart shopping” will be driven by mobile technology.
“The future of retail is the history of retailing,” Thomas said during a keynote address at the CTIA Wireless trade show today. “It’s about a personalized experience for each shopper delivered through the smartphone.”
Thomas explained Wednesday that half the base of Walmart customers now own smartphones.
For the age 35 and under crowd of Walmart shoppers, the smartphone penetration rate is approximately 75%.
Critics fear that Walmart, like many other retailers, will see their sales erode as more people shop online and from their phones. But Thomas believes that mobile-influenced sales in stores will soar to nearly $700 billion, double the market opportunity for e-commerce.
“Adoption is not a problem,” Thomas said, according to CNET, which reported that smartphone-carrying Walmart customers “make four more trips and spend 77 percent more in stores each month.”
As of this writing, mobile access drives a third of the traffic on Walmart.com. Why? Because, according to Thomas, the company is actively working toward its goal “to create shopping tools that become second nature to customers.”