Field Agent: Customers find WalmartPay superior to debit card, say service has room to improve

by Kim Souza ([email protected]) 193 views 

WalmartPay is winning favor with Walmart shoppers of all ages, according to a recent study conducted by Fayetteville-based Field Agent.

Following the recent nationwide rollout of WalmartPay, Field Agent asked 268 of its national agents to activate the payment option within the Walmart mobile app and use it in their local store to purchase at least one item, documenting that purchase with photos and receipts.

The results indicated that 3 out of 4 users said WalmartPay is better than paying with a card, 80% said it was faster and more convenient, while 58% said it’s more secure than using a card. The Field Agent survey also found that said 90% of the participants were first-time WalmartPay users.

Talk Business & Politics has used WalmartPay on several occasions and found that it works efficiently some of the time but on more than one occasion it failed to work and a card was used instead.

Keith Anderson, a retail expert with Boston-based Profitero, has said WalmartPay is yet another way the retailer hopes woo customers to use the mobile shopping app. He recently told Talk Business & Politics that WalmartPay is for those people who already shop the retailer as is the online grocery pick-up option. He said getting the Walmart shoppers to become more loyal to the app usage is one way the retailer can further tie them into the ecosystem it’s starting build around the app.

Experts say ease of use and trust in the security of WalmartPay are two main factors in how widely the payment form will be adopted and used over card payments.

Field Agent found that almost half (49%) of the respondents felt extremely or very safe and secure using Walmart Pay, while an additional 38% indicated they feel moderately safe/secure”using it. Just 5% responded not at all safe/secure.

Daniel Eckert, senior VP of services for Walmart U.S., recently said WalmartPay occurs behind the retailer’s paywall, and is very secure. He said WalmartPay was designed to make the in-store shopping experience better, he refuted that it’s Walmart’s way of getting out in front of other non-retail specific mobile methods like Apple Pay and Google Wallet which Walmart does not currently accept.

Andrew Lipsman, vice president of marketing insights for comScore, said the Walmart mobile app already has 20 million users, many which downloaded it to take advantage of Savings Catcher. He said as more download it for WalmartPay the retail giant is better positioning itself for the future in the digital world of retail.

The Field Agent study also sought to understand how and when consumers plan to use this alternative payment form. The majority (77%) said they are likely to use WalmartPay when in a rush, with 49% likely to use the digital payment when not rushed. As expected 56% said they would use it if checkout lines are long.

Field Agent also asked the respondent how likely they were to use WalmartPay in the future. Of the 253 agent respondents, 227 were first-time users and 66% of them said they are at least very likely to use it again. Just 8% said they’re only slightly likely, and 8% were not at all likely to use WalmartPay again. Field Agent noted that some of these may have showed low repeat intentions because they rarely or never shop at Walmart.

The Field Agent study in part bears out Anderson’s theory that Walmart shoppers will likely use it, but this service alone probably may not entice shoppers from other retailers to shop Walmart.

Other barriers to consumers using WalmartPay include lack of support from store clerks. Eckert said recently the retailer would be ensuring that all of its 1.2 million employees get the training and information they need to support the service.

Field Agent asked respondents to evaluate the helpfulness of store clerks.

“Altogether, 61% of customers in our study had contact with one or more Walmart associates about the digital payment service. Of these 24% found employees extremely knowledgeable, and 21% very knowledgeable, about WalmartPay. However, 18% said employees were only slightly knowledgeable/helpful, and another 18% reported they were not at all knowledgeable/helpful,” noted researcher Chris Mendenwald in his blog about the Field Agent study.

The Field Agent study specifically asked the respondents how Walmart might improve the overall service of WalmartPay. While some respondents praised the service as “lighting fast at checkout” others offered a few criticisms as well.

A 22-year-old male shopper in Coraopolis, Pa., said Walmart should allow customers using WalmartPay to receive a paper receipt as well if they choose to.

“I am not a huge fan of e-receipts and know many others aren’t as well,” he said.

Better training and more informed employees was a criticism voiced by a 39-year-old female shopper in Hollywood, Fla. She asked that Walmart make sure its employees were more knowledgeable and helpful with the new payment system because it can be overwhelming at first.

A male shopper in LaGrange, Ga., said his only complaint was there was no confirmation of payment prior to submission. The 39-year-old said, “If there was an error, I didn’t see opportunity to cancel.”