Wal-Mart news briefs: Military marketplace, class action, ‘Uniquely J’, mobile pay

by Talk Business and Politics ([email protected]) 341 views 

Wal-Mart generates dozens of headlines each week around the globe. This week was no exception with news of its growing mobile payment system, online marketplace expansion, being sued for discrimination by workers, and a new private label launch at Jet.com.

In conjunction with Veteran’s Day, Wal-Mart unveiled a new online marketplace dedicated to selling officially licensed military-branded products. The company said the marketplace has roughly 3,000 items that carry logos from the five branches of the U.S military.

Wal-Mart said it aims to build brand awareness and create multiple touch points for Americans to show support to the U.S. military. Items on the site range from tee shirts costing as low as $3 to a $35 Coast Guard toy helicopter.

“As a 31-year U.S. Army veteran I’m proud to wear my Army gear, and I’m thrilled that Walmart is providing a way for all of us to shop for officially licensed military merchandise with confidence and convenience,” said retired Brigadier General Gary Profit, Walmart’s senior director of military programs.

Seven women who worked at Wal-Mart recently filed a federal lawsuit in Florida against the retail giant claiming violations of the Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

This suit claims Wal-Mart maintained a pattern of gender discrimination against females in compensation and promotion in the Southern region states of Florida, Georgia, Alabama, Tennessee, Virginia and North and South Carolina.

The U.S. Supreme Court threw out a gender bias suit against Wal-Mart six years ago.

The plaintiffs in the Nov. 6 suit are seeking to have the case certificated as a class action which would bring in thousands of more employees. Plaintiffs are also asking for monetary awards and back pay.

Wal-Mart released the following statement about the suit: “These claims are unsuitable for class treatment because the situations of each individual are so different, and because the claims are not representative of the hundreds of thousands of women who work at Walmart.”

Walmart Pay, the retail giant’s proprietary mobile pay system launched in 2015, is close to outranking Apple Pay in terms of U.S. usage, according to report from Crone Consulting.

With 22 million customers per month using the regular Walmart app, it ranks in the top three retail apps in both Google Play and the iOS App Store, the report claims. Wal-Mart said Walmart Pay is available in all of 4,774 U.S. stores and it enrolls tens of thousands of new users daily. Two-thirds of those activating the service use it for a second time within 21 days.

The retail giant said it also expects Walmart Pay will overtake Apple Pay as the most used mobile pay system in the U.S. Apple Pay meanwhile continues to expand around the globe now is active in 25 countries.

The private label push at Wal-Mart Stores has been adopted by its subsidiary Jet.com with a recent launch of “Uniquely J.” Jet.com CEO Liza Landsman said this venture is about expanding assortment, paying attention to better packaging, higher quality and value pricing.

Landsman said Jet.com looked at a year’s worth of data about what its core customers buy more often. Then Jet focused on an alternative to the brand that offered value without compromising the quality. Some of the areas Uniquely J has invested include certified organic products, fair-trade coffee and eco-friendly plastic storage bags.

Landsman said Jet customers also value environmental consciousness above price and quality in many cases.

When asked if this private label push would alienate brand suppliers, Landsman said consumers want assortment and Jet was thoughtful about the categories in which it invested. She also said Uniquely J would be sold only on Jet.com and is geared to the urban, more affluent millennial customers, which is Jet’s core demographic.

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