The office supplies retailer say it sacrificed some sales to improve online profitability. It also redesigned its business-facing e-commerce site, StaplesAdvantage.com.
The retail chain will sell auto coverage through Autoinsurance.com. The move comes the same week Overstock.com said it would sell insurance to businesses and consumers.
It was the week of online insurance sales in Internet Retailer Top 500 land.
Wal-Mart Stores Inc., No. 4 in the 2014 Top 500 Guide, now enables online consumers to shop for vehicle insurance via Walmart.com (actually, www.walmart.com/autoinsurance). This week’s announcement from the world’s largest retailer follows a similar one from web-only mass merchant Overstock.com Inc., No. 31 in the Top 500 Guide. Overstock announced earlier this week it would sell insurance policies to businesses and consumers from a dozen insurance companies.
Wal-Mart is working with AutoInsurance.com. The company provides quotes from such insurance providers as Progressive, Esurance, Safeco and The General. The retail chain says the service is available to consumers in Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Tennessee and Texas. Wal-Mart says it plans to offer insurance “nationwide in the coming months.”
“Our business is driven by a commitment to taking products and services that are complex and pricey and making them easy and affordable,” says Daniel Eckert, senior vice president of services for Wal-Mart U.S. “Our customers too often have to settle for auto insurance policies that aren’t the best fit and cost more than they want to spend. With AutoInsurance.com, we're helping our customers save money on one of their largest household expenses in a new, quick and easy way.”
According to Wal-Mart, the service works like this:
• A consumer logs onto the web site where he types his name, address, date of birth and contact information.
• The consumer can then ask the site to retrieve his current auto insurance policy. AutoInsurance.com then can automatically fill in most of the necessary coverage information and “provide a direct apples-to-apples comparison,” Wal-Mart says.
• Within minutes, Wal-Mart says, the customer receives multiple quotes. The consumer can then customize coverage, including deductibles. Those changes are then reflected in the quotes.
• The consumer can buy the policy online, call an agent, or save the information to make the purchase later.