Walmart, the world’s biggest retailer, has announced that ecommerce sales soared by 30% in the first half of 2013, driven by omnichannel investments in ecommerce initiatives, expanded online inventory, and through increasing the number of stores with fulfilment capabilities.
Walmart’s second quarter sales grew 2.1% to $68.7 billion, with ecommerce sales increasing by 30%. The retailer announced that the number of products available on walmart.com doubled in the first half of the year, through the retailer’s own inventory and via its marketplace.
Walmart’s omnichannel approach relies on a significant investment in its global technology platform, as well as enhancing a growing fulfilment network that merges its online assets with its vast transportation fleet. The number of products eligible for its same-day pickup program has more than tripled since January.
The retailer revealed that it is continuing to look for ways to increase its ecommerce profit margin, piloting new programs in logistics to lower the cost of delivery and improve profitability for ecommerce orders. Specifically, Walmart is looking to enhance the ecommerce growth of Sam’s Club, whose mobile app contributed to a 25% increase in basket size.
According to Neil Ashe, President of ecommerce for Walmart: “We have developed a new capability that automatically searches our broader inventory for an item if that item isn’t available in a customer’s primary store, significantly improving our fill rate.”
“We continue to integrate our e-commerce platform with our stores to create a unique shopping experience. Our physical presence represents a significant competitive advantage for our walmart.com business.”
By delivering a seamless and omnichannel offering to their customers, retailers can convert the threat of showrooming into an opportunity. Walmart’s continued investment in integrating their e-commerce platform with their physical network of stores – a key advantage over pureplay online retailers – ensures that they are well placed to take advantage of the showrooming opportunity.
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