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Walmart Loses Ground To Amazon in E-Commerce Battle

20 February 2016

From Fortune:

Walmart pulled out all the stops during the Christmas period to try to keep up with Amazon.com.

The world’s largest retailer did everything to gin up e-commerce sales, from starting its Black Friday sales onlineon the morning of Thanksgiving, to turning Cyber Monday into Cyber Sunday, to having an upgraded mobile app that helped shoppers do things like alert a store they were coming in to pick up an order.

But the retailer, the second largest e-commerce player in the world, has only modest gains to show for its efforts: global e-commerce sales rose 8% in the fourth quarter that ran from November to January. That was the company’s lowest pace yet.

. . . .

It’s not like Walmart is sitting on its thumbs. The retailer is planning to keep expanding its online assortment. (By the holiday season, it was offering some 10 million different kinds of items, compared to 7 million in June and 700,000 just a few years ago. Still, that is a fraction of Amazon’s 250 million-item selection.)

. . . .

When asked whether Amazon was leaving its rivals in the dust, Ashe didn’t address the question directly, instead suggesting that Walmart.com was more about giving Walmart customers more options.

Link to the rest at Fortune


14 Comments to “Walmart Loses Ground To Amazon in E-Commerce Battle”

  1. Wal-Matt’s customer service for website orders was good the last time I used it, but the degree to which they screwed up my last order made that order my last in a totally different sense. They just aren’t competing effectively. I did end up with more than $100 in free merchandise–but of course it’s just clutter because I can’t use any of it. They shipped me the wrong items–twice on the same order.

  2. Hell, everyone is losing ground to Amazon.


    Did I mention I heart Amazon?

  3. I avoid Walmart as much as possible — Mom is an addict so when we shop together, I’m stuck.

    Even their prices aren’t as good as the local grocery store, much less as good as Amazon’s.

  4. I refuse to enter a Walmart. For some reason walking through an actual physical Walmart store makes me feel suicidal. Can’t explain the reaction. I have, however, attempted to order twice from Walmart’s e-store, purchasing items unavailable anywhere else. Both times the order was a big fail with a capital “F”. Took forever to arrive- weeks beyond the expected date. Smashed boxes. Poorly packed (broken) glass items, missing items– you name it. Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me. Twice was enough to teach me a valuable lesson in choosing retailers.

    • The first Walmart I walked into (many years ago, in another city) was terrible. Bad lighting, dirt, narrow aisles. Totally depressing. When a Walmart came to my community, I refused to shop there because I still had that first impression in my mind. Someone dragged me there one day and I loved what I saw: an array of fresh produce that was priced less than at Kroger. Kroger lost me forever that day.

      The local store looks nothing like the one I visited years earlier. Bright, clean, selection. People talk about the cheap goods, but I manage to find items that are fine for my lifestyle. It’s one of the two local stores I visit regularly (Costco is the other one). Just about everything else comes from Amazon, where most of my dollars go.

      • Our local Walmart sounds like the first store you’ve described. Cannot, for the life of me, enter that store. On the other hand, I LOVE Costco!!!

        • Costco rocks. But Chile needs to get their weather under control so they can start sending Costco some green grapes again.

  5. And will they deliver a large bulky item from one of their stores?

    Nope …

    Luckily for me what me mother ‘really really wanted’ (patio furniture) fit in the mini van once I’d folded the seats …

  6. P.G.

    I’ve bought from both and I have no ingrained prejudice against or for either.

    All I can say is that buying online from Walmart is hideously complex, while with Amz it’s two clicks, done.


    • Martin L. Shoemaker

      Exactly. Exactly. No one seems to understand usability and customer service like Amazon does.

      With almost every company out there, I dread having to call customer service. I know I’m going to get some entry-level person who understands technology far less than I do. I know that if I’m lucky, within an hour of trying I’ll get to talk with someone who can actually understand my problem. And MAYBE fix it.

      With Amazon, I know that if I have to call, the person I talk to will fix it. And yet at the same time, I virtually never have to call. I almost never have problems to begin with; and if I do, I can usually resolve them without help through their site

  7. //With Amazon, I know that if I have to call, the person I talk to will fix it.//


    Heh..there it is. I get that with Google too. Inevitably, with retail, there are going to be issues. It’s how the company deals with problems is the great leveller. In the UK, it’s John Lewis. They fix it. Here in the USA it’s Amazon and Google.

    Walmart in the flesh is okay, no issues. Online needs a lot of work.


  8. Part of the problem retailers like WalMart face in trying to catch up to Amazon is they’re not just chasing Amazon; they are chasing Amazon and all their marketplace partners. Amazon.com long since stopped being an online dept store and became an online mall.

    Their anchor is Amazon, LLC, but they have a horde of other “tenants” selling through that storefront.

    Conversely, Amazon can outrun Rakuten, Ebay, and AliBaba because they do have an anchor to draw in consumers and handle customer service and the others are primarily B2B operations so customer service isn’t always up to Amazon standards.

    They set a very high bar for competitors.

  9. Perhaps WalMart will take out a full-page ad in the New York Times and FedEx a letter to the DOJ. The Walton family will write it from their tiny writing shack in Arkansas…

  10. In the short time I practiced law in Dallas (Haauuuggghhhh! Spit!)(Fort Worth is my home town. I hate Dallas.), I often finished work at 1 or 2 in the dark. Then I had to go grocery shopping, ’cause I had not had the chance before. There was a 24-hour Walmart off the LBJ Freeway with self-checkout. Clean. Nobody there but me and one clerk and the stock boys. Ten minutes, fifteen tops, in and out. I have no complaints about WalMart. (But I never tried to buy from them online.)

    When I could, I shopped Fiesta Supermarkets. Created a problem, one time. You see, I swear in Spanish. I picked up an item, checked the price (outlandish), and practically shouted chingala. This passed unremarked at WalMart, but heads turned and eyes stared daggers at Fiesta.

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