Walmart’s Online Gains Hint at Amazon Contender Status

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Walmart’s most recent CEO, Doug McMillon, had several goals when he took the reigns of the retail giant, including big hopes of refurbishing and rebirthing its stalled eCommerce arm.

His efforts seem to have started bearing fruit, with domestic eCommerce sales growing 63 percent in the last quarter. It was an unexpected, but happy bit of news for the Arkansas-based corporation.

Walmart Challenges Amazon’s eCommerce Supremacy

With its massive distribution centers and warehousing systems, it was a puzzle for many that Walmart didn’t already have a leg up on the competition in the eCommerce world.

Instead, the big box store struggled to find a way to make eCommerce a viable part of its infrastructure for years. And during those years, Amazon grew and grew, building the types of distribution centers and warehouses that Walmart already had in place.

McMillon, however, knew the store could do more with eCommerce if enough money was invested in it from the start. Since he took over in 2014, his focus has been on improving the overall customer experience by investing in both technology and employees, which seems to be finally paying off.

Walmart Leading the Way 

By expanding the number of products offered online, better leveraging its existing warehouse and distribution centers and fleets and aggressively purchasing other successful online stores, Walmart is faring much better than many retailers today.

Where many retailers are posting losses, the Bentonville giant saw sales increase by 1.4 percent year over year, to $117.5 billion. Its online branch now boasts 50 million items, up from 10 million a year prior.

Walmart is making a big effort to become a modern retailer. In addition to the eCommerce improvements, investments in technology like self-checkouts and warehouse drones are reducing costs overall.

Although Amazon’s $136 billion in annual online sales is a hard act to follow, Walmart is primed to be a contender. Recent acquisitions of Jet.com, ModCloth and Moosejaw will help the big box store to continue to grow its presence online. It has taken several years and a great deal of effort on the parts of everyone in the organization, but it seems that Walmart is prepared to survive the current retail slump spectacularly.

 

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