USA: Walmart slows new store openings in favor of e-commerce
Walmart will be scaling back the opening of new stores to focus on improving its mobile and online commerce channels, following many other big retailers after the industry as a whole saw a surge in mobile shopping and digital continues to dominate.
The plan was outlined at Walmart’s 2016 Investment Community Meeting. The retailer cemented its plans to focus on mobile and online commerce as its main driver of growth for the next few fiscal years.
“Mobile experienced 40 percent growth this year and, for the first time, it was reported that apps are generating more sales than mobile websites,” said Wilson Kerr, VP Business Development & Sales at Unbound Commerce. “Walmart’s focus on it’s online business generally, and mobile in particular, is very smart, as this is a huge growth area.”
CEO Doug McMillon spoke in the meeting about the company’s future and what were the main areas they would focus on in the immediate future.
The first three areas of focus were related to its regional business models, continued momentum in the U.S. business; solid growth in key international markets, including Mexico and Canada and a sharpened focus in China.
The last area of focus however is international. Mr. McMillon stated that ecommerce and digital investments would be one of the top drivers of growth for Walmart over the next few years.
The retailer is planning to take resources and time that would have been geared towards opening new physical locations, and funnel it into revamping its global online and mobile commerce models.
“Walmart has its own mobile wallet called Walmart Pay, a free shipping program similar to Amazon prime, in-store pick up and a dedicated customer base,” Mr. Kerr said. “They are making the right moves and have all the ingredients to reap ever bigger rewards from mobile app usage. Walmart saw online sales increase 12 percent in the second quarter of this year, and saw total digital sales hit $14 billion in 2015.
“They are doing something right, and dedicating money and shifting focus and resources towards this high growth area will help them deliver a single omnichannel Walmart experience by blurring the line between in-store, online, and mobile.”
Source: Mobile Commerce Daily
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