Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Website Review: Wal-Mart.com

Stars: 5 out of 5

A Convenient Way to Buy Anything Under the Sun

I must admit to shopping at Wal-Mart very frequently.  I have three of the brick and mortar stores in my home town, and the one closed to me is a Supercenter that includes groceries.  I've recently been trying to expand my on-line shopping, and one site I've been visiting is walmart.com.  The web version of this selling giant is just as good as their real stores are.

What Can You Buy?

Everything!  Okay, so I'm exaggerating slightly, but they really do have quite a lot.  They've got clothes, jewelry, electronics of all types, appliance, bed spreads, toothpaste, toys, photo services, food, and camping equipment.  If they sell it in the store, you can probably find it or something like it on their site.

I must admit I haven't spent the hours it would take to compare what they have in the stores to what they offer on the website.  However, I have found some stuff on their site that they don't currently have in their stores.  In fact, my local store has removed a lot of their TV on DVD sets and has a small selection of movies period.  The website contains a much bigger selection of both.  I've also found that the website, at least for electronics like this, was a dollar or two cheaper than the physical store was charging.  Their prices aren't always better than all the web sites out there, so comparison shopping is still the best way to go if you need to find the best deal, but their prices are usually competitive.

How is the Site Laid Out?

When you first log on to walmart.com, you'll find a drop down menu on the left hand side of the screen.  These will let you browse the site by category.  Or you can use the search box near the top of the screen.  I've just used that and always found what I was searching for in the first page of results.

When you click on the item you are interested in, not only will they tell you if they have it in stock and how much shipping is, but they will also tell you if any stores near you have it in stock.  I actually used this feature to find that an article of clothing I was interested in getting was available in one of the stores in town I don't normally shop at.  While I didn't order on line, I was in that store the next day to buy one.

Shipping (and other fun stuff)

Shipping charges can vary based on what you are purchasing.  Most media type items ship for 97 cents.  Just try to beat that with gas prices what they are today.  If you want, you can have many items shipped to a local store for free.  It seems to take that stuff an extra couple of days to arrive.  When it does, you need a photo ID and a copy of the order number to pick it up.

Not all items are that cheap.  I recently ordered a toy for my niece and had it shipped directly to my brother and sister-in-law.  Shipping on that was $3.97, and based on some other shipping I've done recently, that was a good price as well.  As I said, shipping is listed on every item's page, so there are no surprises when you go to check out.

One thing that might come as a surprise is sales tax.  Walmart.com is required to collect sales tax for every state where they have a physical store, so plan on that when you are placing your order.

I've placed three orders with them within the last six months.  I had a DVD set shipped to the store, and it took a little over a week.  I ordered the previously mentioned toy for my niece, and it arrived at her house four days later.  I then ordered an iPod adaptor for my car, and it arrived pretty close to the same time frame.  I'm very happy with those results.

Returns?

Since there are physical Wal-Mart stores, you can return anything you decide you don't want or that is defective to the store or via the mail.  I've been happy with my purchases, so I haven't had to try that, but I like the quick and easy option of going directly to the store.

Conclusion


So far, I've been very happy with my shopping experiences at walmart.com.  I will still be making the actual store my first choice for shopping, but I plan to use the website more frequently to help me find good prices on what I want to buy.

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