Warc Blog

Walmart takes on Amazon

29 March 2013
NEW YORK: Walmart, the US retailer, is preparing a renewed push into ecommerce as it challenges Amazon and other major players in the online universe.

Currently, Walmart's online operations account for less than 2% of its global sales and amount to around 15% of Amazon's total sales.

"We own what we own, and we're going after what we don't," Neil Ashe, chief executive of Walmart Global eCommerce, told the Financial Times. "We can get to every customer in the world via ecommerce. It doesn't matter where they live or how much they earn."

The last sentence was a reference to the perception that the company is seeking to attract a more prosperous online consumer.

Joel Anderson, chief executive of Walmart.com said: "Certainly we have the $30,000 to $60,000 [customer], but we also have the $60,000-plus and the $100,000-plus customer."

The company emphasised that less well-off consumers were also shopping from its website in large numbers, and often on smartphones rather than computers.

Anderson also recently claimed the company could gain an advantage over its rival thanks to its ability to combine digital assets and shops, using more than 4,000 US stores as warehouses to fulfil online orders quickly.

"It is really efficient to use our stores. We've been picking and putting items in boxes for years," he told Reuters. "Ship from store is no different. We are picking items from the shelves and putting them in a box."

Not everything will be shipped from stores, however, as Walmart is also following the Amazon path by trialling self-serve lockers in some stores to hold goods ordered over the internet until shoppers pick them up.

Ashe also observed that Walmart would not be challenging Amazon everywhere, in terms of geography or category. "The Venn diagrams overlap, but it's not a perfect overlap like people would make it out to be," he said.

Data sourced from Financial Times, Reuters; additional content by Warc staff

 
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