Bonobos CEO says Walmart’s evolution mirrors Netflix
Walmart and Netflix have more in common than you might think.
That’s the position of Andy Dunn, CEO and co-founder of Bonobos, the Walmart-owned men’s clothing e-tailer and operator of 57 Guideshop locations around the U.S. Mr. Dunn sees parallels between Netflix’s start as a low-cost renter of videos delivered through the mail to a producer of its own award-winning programming and the Bentonville behemoth’s path from a low-price seller of everyday staples to the owner of distinctive brands that go well beyond anything that Sam Walton ever imagined.
“The realization is that Walmart, my boss Marc Lore and his boss, Doug McMillan, really see around the bend,” said Mr. Dunn. “And one of the things we believe is the future is not just about platforms, it’s about brands.”
To be sure, not everyone has seen the logic in Walmart acquiring distinctive brands such as Bonobos, ModCloth and Moosejaw.
In a June 2017, RetailWire discussion, several BrainTrust panelists questioned whether Bonobos, purchased for $310 million, was a good fit for Walmart. While Bonobos would provide access to new customers that never considered shopping at a Walmart, would the association with the big box retailer drive those very same people away?
Vendors of the businesses acquired by Walmart also have their concerns about the association. Just last week, it was reported that about a third of the brands initially included in the Premium Outdoor Store microsite recently launched on walmart.com want out. Those asking to leave expressed concerns about a devaluation of their brand’s equity, concerns about low-ball pricing from unauthorized sellers on online marketplaces as well as pushback from specialty outdoor retailers that have been the traditional channel for their goods.
- Walmart takes a cue from Netflix in buying clothing brands like ours, Bonobos CEO says – CNBC
- Will the Bonobos acquisition give Walmart a fashion edge? – RetailWire
- Should the outdoor industry welcome selling on walmart.com? – RetailWire
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: Does Andy Dunn’s analogy between Netflix’s originally-produced content and Walmart’s investment in brands hold up? Do you agree that the future of commerce is about brands and not platforms?