Wal-mart Online

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The nation’s largest retailer, Wal-Mart Store’s Inc., is making moves to become the biggest on-line retailer with the addition of more than 100,000 titles to its music catalog.

Wal-Mart Online, www.wal-mart.com, has expanded to offer more than 140,000 items in 27 main product categories ranging from sporting goods to fresh flowers. The addition of the 100,000 music titles was due to on-line shoppers requests, says company spokesman Stacy Webb.

“We don’t have any official numbers yet but we have been very pleased wi th the traffic and response to our on-line service,” Webb says. “We are very receptive to what people like and don’t like and the products on the site are changed weekly.

“Music and books seem to be the most anticipated items we sell and we should be adding another 200 book titles in the near future.”

Webb says currently, on-line shopping makes up less than one percent of Wal-Mart’s total sales. She says the company has no set sales goal for the site to determine what’s a success or failure financially.

“I don’t think we even know that yet. It’s all set by the feedback we get from the customer,” Webb says.

A stroll through the virtual discount city is relatively easy. Wal-Mart Online gives shoppers the opportunity to browse, or for those power shopping, carts are provided for users to carry purchases. On-line shoppers must register once the first item is placed in the cart, but that does not actually purchase any of the items. There is also a search field to help find specific items or goods in a particular price range.

Transactions are completed either on-line or by calling 1-800-966-6546. All transactions are confirmed by e-mail and the charges will not appear on customers’ credit cards until after the goods have been shipped.

To add to the comfort of on-line shopping, Wal-Mart will implement a new payment card security system, Secure Electronic Transaction Protocol, using encryption technologies. Webb says the service should be in place by mid summer. She says Wal-Mart has had no problems with its current security system but the company is just “changing with the technology.”

Webb says with SET, an itemized record of the purchase is sent to buyer’s e-mail address and the credit card company. The credit company and Wal-Mart also contact the card owner after the transaction has been completed to verify the purchases. American Express and MasterCard holders will be issued digital certificates of purchase.