Wal-Mart boss says Jet.com deal ‘removing friction’ for shoppers, more to come

by Kim Souza (ksouza@talkbusiness.net) 619 views 

(from left) Walmart e-Commerce CEO Marc Lore and Wal-Mart Stores CEO Doug McMillon

It’s been a full year since Wal-Mart Stores closed on its monumental $3.3 billion acquisition of Jet.com. While there were some who initially questioned the deal’s value, Wal-Mart Stores CEO Doug McMillon noted in a recent blog post the retail giant is better because of insights from the deal that continue to strengthen the retailer’s e-commerce capabilities.

“Both Walmart and Jet have a deep commitment to serving customers, and saving them money and time. By coming together, we could do all these things better. That’s exactly what we’re doing,” McMillon wrote.

A rundown of accomplishments noted by McMillon include a partnership with Google for voice-activated shopping, easy reorder option for online grocery customers and two-day free shipping on millions of items without a membership fee. The retailer also has made strides in expanding its online merchandise assortment from from 15 million to more than 67 million over the past year. Much of that gain is related to the retailer’s marketplace expansion. Other big headlines in the past year have included a portfolio of online retail acquisitions to help Wal-Mart with category insights the retailer hopes will continue to grows sales and expand its customer base.

“I’m excited about how far we’ve come together, and even more excited about what’s ahead. We’re also seeing the power of our stores and e-commerce coming together to serve customers. We’re removing friction from our shopping experience – focused on making it fast, easy and fun for customers. Walmart customers now receive a discount for store pickup rather than home delivery, which we can offer by using our vast supply chain and store network to create efficiencies. With stores located within 10 miles of nearly 90 percent of the U.S. population, it’s convenient for many of our customers, and saves them money,” McMillon noted in the blog.

The retailer also has expanded its online grocery pickup location to 1,000 stores and that has helped to grow online sales in the past year. Wal-Mart is also testing home delivery of Walmart.com orders using store employees in a few markets.  Wal-Mart also has put in 100 pickup towers in stores across the county to help customers more quickly retrieve their online orders.

McMillon continues to sing the praises of Jet founder Marc Lore who now leads Walmart U.S. e-commerce which posted impressive growth numbers in the first half of this year, compared to last. McMillon said that’s proof customers are responding. Early on, McMillon gave Lore the ability to lead the massive retailer’s online business as if it were a startup.

“He [Lore] has proven to be the digital embodiment of Walmart,” McMillon noted. “He has a fanatical focus on serving customers and creating the next generation of everyday low prices. It’s energizing how he and Greg Foran, CEO of Walmart U.S., and their teams continue to partner closely to delight customers in new ways across our apps, sites and stores.

“I’m excited about how far we’ve come together, and even more excited about what’s ahead. Here’s to another great year of finding more ways to save our customers time and money, and delivering an easy and enjoyable shopping experience,” McMillon concluded.

While much of the retail industry has had a rough year, Wal-Mart is seen as one of the leaders, according to retail analyst Debra Weinswig. Part of that success is the retailer’s effort to improve online and be an example to follow in the omnichannel world.

Wall Street likes the direction Wal-Mart is going, too. One year ago, Wal-Mart Stores shares were trading at $72.35 per share. In the past year, the price has risen to trade above $80. The share value is up more than 10% over the past full year.

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