Will Walmart’s innovation strategies pay off?
Through a special arrangement, presented here for discussion is a summary of a current article from the Retail TouchPoints website.
With Amazon continually looming with quick product delivery, competitive pricing and a seemingly infinite product selection, all traditional brick-and-mortar brands must take notice. So, I give Walmart credit for standing up and fighting with some recent innovative moves.
Let’s take a look at what the company has been up to recently:
- Acquisition of Jet.com for $3.3 billion;
- Acquisition of Moosejaw for $51 million;
- Acquisition of Shoes.com for $9 million and ShoeBuy for $70 million;
- Acquisition of Modcloth for less than $75 million;
- Potential acquisition of Bonobos for $310 million;
- Last Mile Associate Delivery Strategy; and
- Virtual Reality investments in employee training; and
- Automated grocery pickup test in Oklahoma City.
Also in 2017, Walmart launched a Technology Incubator called Store No 8 in Silicon Valley.
“Sometimes you invest in these big transformative ideas that maybe aren’t ready for prime time today,” Seth Beal, SVP, incubation and strategic partnerships, told Fortune. Mr. Beal is leading the Store No 8 initiative along with Katie Finnegan, a head of strategy at Jet.com.
Confirming the company’s go-forward focus on new technology and automated capabilities, Walmart CEO Doug McMillon assured employees at its annual meeting that they still matter:
“We will compete with technology, but win with people,” he said. “No doubt our work will be different in the future — robots, drones and algorithms will do some work that we used to have to do. Some people are afraid of what these changes will bring. I don’t think we should be. Instead, I think we should recognize that we’ll be able to learn, grow and change together.”
Walmart is definitely making strides in retail innovation, as executives representing the retailer’s new efforts are being recognized in the industry. Retail leaders from Jet.com, Moosejaw and Walmart received Retail Innovator Awards in 2017 and two Bonobos execs were recipients at the first Retail Innovator Awards presentation in 2014. The Walmart folks were extremely proud and excited to receive the awards in recognition of the company’s innovation efforts. It’s definitely a sign that times are changing for the 50+-year-old retail behemoth.
- Will Walmart’s Innovation Strategies Pay Off? – Retail Touchpoints
- Walmart Is Launching a Tech Incubator in Silicon Valley – Fortune
- Walmart touts online progress at annual shareholder meeting – Omaha World-Herald
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: Is Walmart on the right path with its innovation strategies? Which actions do you find most promising for the company? Do you feel that Walmart is beginning to close the online gap with Amazon?