Walmart online shopping is an information system that was created to give customers the ability to shop at the Walmart stores without leaving the comfort of their own home. Whether it’s to get the hours of operation for the local store or to do all your Christmas shopping, the information system offers great convenience to its users. Also, the system does not focus on any one particular demographic.
The users can range from teenagers to senior citizens. The primary function of the site is to give consumers a place to purchase store items without having to go to the actual store location. Therefore, some of the main features include the list of departments and the shopping cart. Walmart.com is accessed by millions of users each day. In order for the system to work properly there are several hardware and software requirements. Unfortunately there’s no access to the server-side hardware and software requirements. However, some assumptions can be made.
Walmart.com is basically a single application with subsystems, and like many other successful online businesses Walmart enables server farms. Walmart likely uses over a hundred servers and is said to have the second biggest and most powerful computer (or supercomputer) in the United States after the Pentagon. The website is served by Apache Tomcat. Additional requirements are Java, Microsoft Office, and Microsoft windows.
Due to the large number of users accessing the website and the amount of data being stored, an extremely large amount of memory (RAM) and storage would also be needed. Other possible requirements might include CGI (Common Gateway Interface), and filtering software.
Walmart might use CGI so that it can run programs on the website. For example, the user will input information when ordering an item from the website, then the data needs to be processed by an application program. After the data is processed, a confirmation page will pop up. CGI is what will pass the data back and forth between the server and the application program. Walmart might also use some type of filtering software to make recommendations on products based on previous purchases and viewed items.
Due to this software, when the customer gets on the main Walmart webpage they are greeted with items the software predicted the customer would like. Additional requirements might include Oracle software and financial software. The Walmart online shopping site offers a variety of financial services. Financial software is used to manage purchases, Walmart credit cards, and the Walmart money center.
Through the website customers can manage their Walmart credit cards and pay their account. The money center allows customers to purchase gift cards, money orders, put items on layaway, cash checks, and do money transfers. As for the client-side hardware and software requirements, users must have a computer with internet access, along with all the connecting parts such as the monitor, mouse, cables, and keyboard. Microsoft internet explorer and/or Mozilla Firefox and Java would also be required to access Walmart online shopping. Users can also access the site through laptops, tablets, and cell phones (assuming the device has internet access).
The main feature for Walmart online shopping is the departments section. This section lists different departments which help customers navigate the website. The purpose of this feature is to break down the store items into several departments making it easier for customers to find what they’re looking for, just like in the actual store. On the website the customer would scroll over the department they wish to look at, and then a more detailed list for that department pops up. For example, if the customer was looking for baby furniture they would first scroll over the furniture department, then when the detailed list popped up they would click on baby.
After the customer viewed items, the website would take these data inputs and would make recommendations on other items the customer might like (data outputs). After the customer has located an item they wish to purchase, they would select that item, click “add to cart” and it would go into their shopping cart. The shopping cart is another main feature on the website. This feature receives the data inputs (all the items the customer has selected to purchase). Here the customer is also able to edit or remove items. When the customer is finished shopping, they would click “Proceed to Checkout”. Next, the customer is required to input the shipping and payment information.
This feature will then output the data information to show the customer when they should expect to received the purchase, the confirmation message, and give them access to the receipt and how to track the order. Another major feature is the Walmart gift registry. This feature allows users to compile a list of Walmart items that they want as gifts. Walmart gift registries can be used for any type of party, holiday, or event, but are mostly used for baby showers and weddings. The purpose of this feature is to make shopping for gifts more convenient.
The data input this feature takes is the registrant’s name, date of the event, and the long list of gift items they want. The data output could possibly be the same information, as party goers are then able to access this information. They are also able to view and purchase these items without leaving the comfort of their home, or they can print out the list at the local Walmart store. It also maintains the list by removing items after they have been purchased.
One additional feature worth mentioning is the Walmart money center. The purpose of this feature is to give customers access to a variety of financial services. Data inputs will be different depending which service is used. Let’s start with the Walmart credit card. Through the money center the customer can apply for a credit card, pay their bill, and manage their account. Using this service, the data inputs this feature takes is personal information to see if the individual qualifies for a credit card. It also takes banking information for bill payment. Some of the output data it would take include the customer’s electronic statement and confirmation messages for bill payment.