Photo by Tupungato /

Walmart announced its strategy to sway customers away from Amazon leading up to the holiday season by placing its focus on the customer experience.

While Amazon’s allure is primarily due to its convenience, Walmart announced Wednesday that its 4,700 stores will be throwing parties and employing costumed “holiday helpers” to assist customers with their shopping this holiday season.

So essentially, Walmart is using its presence to sell presents.

The in-store parties will feature an array of opportunities for shoppers including posing for pictures with Santa. Walmart’s holiday helpers will also help customers find the presents they’ve ordered online and even direct them to the shortest line for checkout.

Parties will also be held at Super Centers, giving children the chance to decide exactly what they want from Santa, with a little help from product demonstration and catalogs.

The first of more than 20,000 parties to be held over the next two months, nationwide, will take place this Saturday. The Big box retailer will call the event "Toys That Rock".

Walmart's other events will include "Parties That Rock" and "Gifts That Rock," where attendees can receive curated gift guides and toy catalogs. Its  holiday marketing campaign this year is dubbed "Rock This Christmas," the company announced Wednesday.

"While we're shipping a whole lot of advertising to the omnichannel experience, we don't want to let the store experience get lost in that," Tony Rogers, chief marketing officer of Walmart U.S., said on a call with members of the media.

"We are investing in [stores] this year more than we ever have," Rogers said. "It's the most we've done in stores."

“Serving customers is our everyday passion at Walmart, and during the holiday season we work even harder to deliver what our customers want most…to save time and money,” said Steve Bratspies, chief merchandising officer of Walmart U.S.

Walmart is also offering free two-day shipping for orders that top $35 as a tactic to compete with Amazon, which offers a Prime membership that provides members with free two-day shipping on many items.

"This is our first holiday season with [free] two-day shipping [on orders over $35], and an expanded online grocery assortment," said Steve Bratspies, chief merchandising officer of Walmart's U.S. team. "It's the biggest and best year, yet, when it comes to merchandise."

In another push, Arkansas-based Walmart is expanding the number of items on sale this holiday season, both in stores and online. The company will triple its online assortment, according to Scott Hilton, chief revenue officer of Walmart's U.S. e-commerce division. And more Walmart shoppers are expected to ring up purchases online prior to picking them up in stores, Hilton said.

Photo by: Photo by Tupungato /

Reported by: Liam Tyler; Edited by: Amy Wesley


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