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Wal-Mart Sees ‘Second-Mover Advantage’ in E-Commerce

18 October 2017

From The Wall Street Journal:

 Wal-Mart Stores Inc. U.S. e-commerce chief Marc Lore said the online retail division is still in growth mode, the fruits of which will start paying off over the next two years and help it better compete with Amazon.com Inc.

“E-commerce is a scale game,” Mr. Lore said in an interview at The Wall Street Journal’s WSJ D.Live technology conference on Tuesday. “We’re looking at a lot of different things right now, everything, in every sector.”

Wal-Mart has been on an acquisition spree in the past year since it acquired Mr. Lore’s startup Jet.com for $3.3 billion and put Mr. Lore in charge of its U.S. e-commerce business. Wal-Mart has snapped up a string of trendy e-commerce startups, including clothing sites Bonobos and ModCloth, as it tries to gain a foothold with consumers who have previously shied away from shopping on its own website.

Wal-Mart trails rival Amazon in online market share, but Mr. Lore said Wal-Mart’s built-in network of thousands of stores can serve as hubs for online orders and distribution. Mr. Lore said Wal-Mart has a “second-mover advantage.”

The Bentonville, Ark.-based retailer is working on a new design for its e-commerce site and better deliveries so it can get goods to more consumers in less than two hours or overnight — a cornerstone of Amazon’s pitch.

Link to the rest at The Wall Street Journal

PG says Wal-Mart should hope that there is a “hundredth-mover advantage” in e-commerce. It has relaunched its e-commerce business almost annually for the last ten years or more and still hasn’t gotten it right.

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7 Comments to “Wal-Mart Sees ‘Second-Mover Advantage’ in E-Commerce”

  1. Maybe it should open an ebook operation.

  2. Their online marketing better not use Jet.com’s method of determining shipping costs. I like straightforward pricing.

  3. Considering their ongoing shopper friendliness of selling returned/damaged goods as new and expired food on their shelves, I just can’t see ‘trusting’ them to do any less when you aren’t there to check the items before putting them in your online shopping basket.

    • If you are seeing this at your local store, and if complaints to the local manager aren’t working, you should go complain on the Walmart webpage. That way, either regional or coproate management will come down on your local store like a ton of bricks.

      Returned merchandise is supposed to go to Claims, btw. Usually it is sent back to the manufacturer, or the cost is just eaten by the store. If it is such that it can put back on the shelf, it is supposed to receive a special sticker indicating it, and be sold at a reduced price.

      Your local Walmart isn’t like mine, I gotta say. So yes, feel free to report the skankiness. Heads will roll.

  4. Wal-Mart’s main “e-commerce” problem is it’s web site.

    The site is *slow*.

    It wastes a lot of screen space.

    It’s infected with Flash and Javascript.

    It has browser-specific code that breaks on non-mainstream browsers.

    It clutters my search results with unrelated items they’re trying to sell. There’s no way they can justify showing me baby diapers when I’m searching for car tires. That’s just stupid.

    And no matter what I search for, the first two or three whole pages are entirely comprised of items marked as “out of stock.” Hello? I don’t *care* what you don’t have in stock.. Why are you even bothering to send this information (slowly) to me?

    Frankly, Wal-Mart’s web site looks and runs pretty much like Sears.com, except Sears was faster and didn’t show as many out-of-stock items.

    • You also can’t tell at a glance if their third-party sellers (and there’s a LOT of ’em) count toward the shipping discount.

      Last week I checked to be sure Wally had Panera tomato soup. Yep, four. So I went to the store and discovered they had none. Returned home and checked the computer again: four.

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