Wal-Mart acquires Yumprint, enhances online grocery push

by The City Wire staff (info@thecitywire.com) 12 views 

Grocery is more than 55% of Wal-Mart Stores Inc. sales, most of that in their stores, but the retailer continues to focus on its expansion of online grocery and delivery business options.

Wal-Mart confirmed it acquired recipe technology company Yumprint for an undisclosed amount. Yumprint, founded in Seattle in 2011, operates a website and mobile app that allow consumers to search food blogs, plan meals and calculate nutritional information.

“Yumprint founders Chris Crittenden and Wes Dyer had a vision for how technology can improve the way all of us discover and prepare our meals … Chris and Wes’s ideas and ambitions for transforming the grocery shopping experience match the global opportunity Walmart enjoys in this space, and their accomplishments with Yumprint just scratch the surface of what we’re going to do next together,” notes Ben Galbraith a Walmart.com blogger.

The retail giant recently launched Walmart to Go grocery delivery pilots in the San Francisco/San Jose area and Denver. Bill Simon, CEO of Walmart U.S., recently said the retailer is pleased with those results, even though it’s just a small pilot. Simon said the service in Denver has garnered a 90% customer approval rating.

Walmart To Go is the part of a home delivery craze, as each retailer tries to trump the other. Analysts believe Wal-Mart could expand home grocery delivery anytime it wants, but the retailer doesn’t yet see ample consumer demand to justify the costs in the U.S. The retailer has also said it has learned the nuances of home delivery in part from its British banner ASDA.

Wal-Mart intends to roll Yumprint into its e-commerce operation in San Bruno. Crittenden and Dyer have joined the WalmartLabs team.

Wal-Mart grew its global e-commerce sales to $10 billion last year, a gain of 30%.

Charles Holley, chief financial officer for Wal-Mart Stores Inc., gave the following forecast for the retailer’s e-commerce business during a recent earnings call:

"We expect to grow Global eCommerce sales to over $13 billion this fiscal year, with continued focus on the U.S., U.K., China and Brazil. Our websites in Canada and Mexico are starting to gain even more customer traffic. We continue to step up investments in Pangaea, our global technology platform, which helped drive sales across our retail websites in the U.S., the U.K. and Brazil. This growth is enabled by investments we’re also making in fulfillment and replenishment. Our online websites had their most successful year in fiscal 2014, and we continue to offer a great omni-channel experience for our customers."