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Please help me understand something.  And then I’ll back into my little cave and continue to reflect on the state of KimYe.

Wal-Mart.com has recently announced that it will be accepting cash for purchases made online, to assist those who don’t have a debit/credit card OR for those who are not feeling to comfortable entering their account numbers into the succubus that controls the interwebs.  They will then be able to drive to their nearest Wal-Mart, with receipt in hand, and pay cash in person.  The product they’ve ordered will be shipped to them as per usual online transaction.

From GigaOm’s article on the announcement: “Many of our customers shop paycheck to paycheck and are looking for more ways to purchase items online but don’t have the means to a credit, debit or prepaid card,” said Joel Anderson, president and CEO of Walmart.com in a statement. “Our new ‘Pay with Cash’ offering is designed just for them.  It makes it easier for our customers to shop the way they want, where they have access to a broader product selection at Walmart.com coupled with the convenience of payment and shipping as they want.”

Wal-Mart is asking me to log on (type-y, type-y, type-y), find my product, sign up for an account so they can track my order, select Cash In Store as my form of payment, print out my receipt, hop in my car, drive to the nearest location, wait on line, complete the transaction, drive back to my house, and wait for the package.  Essentially taking eleven steps to get the automatic cat feeder or backyard trampoline I’ve been hoping to buy.

Are you fucking kidding me?  No, not about the cat feeder nor trampoline…

Wal-Mart is assuming the following:

• I have a printer to print out said receipt
• I’m comfortable giving up my personal information (for people who are using the pay-in-person service to avoid giving CC info)
• I have a car, bus pass, friend to drive me
• I can afford the extra gas to go to and from my local Wal-Mart
• I’m willing to stand in line to complete my cash transaction
• I’m good with waiting a few days for my delivery, even though I’m in the actual store where my product may already reside.

What is Wal-Mart’s end game, to lure more foot traffic into the store? Well, yeah, if you’re already there, I’m making a bet you’ll take a look around and walk out of there with a few essentials, since you’re IN THE STORE.

Oh and some fine print, of course:

“Exceptions: Orders will not be eligible for in-store payments if they include any of the following: items fulfilled through our Pick Up Today or Site to Store FedEx services; items sold from our Tire Center, Online Pharmacy, or Video on Demand by VUDU services; items sold by a Walmart Marketplace Retailer; or if the total value or number of items in the order is above our limit.”

‘…if the total value or number of items in the order is above our limit’?  What is that limit please?  What does that even mean? Oh and you can’t buy tires or use the site for pharmacy pick up…you know, for those off-road Nasonex adventures.

And what happens if you need to return an item after you’ve completed the physical challenge (TM Marc Summers)?  Do you then have to bring the item back to the post office or store…which is exactly the opposite reason why you went online to purchase the damn thing in the first place.

The takeaway that content creators can learn from all this?  Think about your end user.  Think about how many steps they’ll have to take to complete your conversion goal.  After all, not everyone is willing to take eleven steps to get what they need.  In fact, online retail has trained consumers for a ‘one-click’ experience – this is not the time to go old school.

Note from Rados: This article resides on my very dated personal blog and is not a representation of my current employer.  I’m fully aware that my hair is now ten inches shorter and I’ll eventually get around to updating my bio.

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