Walmart CEO admits the retailer is playing ‘catch up’ in ecommerce
Walmart chief executive Doug McMillon has admitted the global retailer has some major adjustments to make in order to keep up with its rivals’ ecommerce game.
Speaking at Fortune’s Brainstorm Tech conference, McMillon said Walmart has been undergoing a transformation to meet consumers’ new shopping demands.
“Obviously bricks-and-mortar stores are one thing. E-commerce in some ways started out feeling like an independent channel or an independent business,” said McMillon.
“Yeah, we fell behind and have been playing catch up and have been doing a number of things to accelerate that progress and learning along the way and getting better as it relates to the customer experience.”
McMillion argued that retail has evolved into an “omnichannel world”, where Walmart’s 11,300 stores are a benefit.
“So today we’re very focused on creating a seamless experience for the Walmart brand, bringing the stores and e-commerce together,” said McMillon.
“Stores have some advantages and we’re trying to make the most of those. And then catch up in e-commerce and get better with the customer experience and put them together in a way that’s unique and customers will find not only saves them money and time, but creates the optimal experience.”
Speaking on the market competition Walmart has come up against with Amazon, McMillon said the competitor’s innovation and speed were possible for Walmart to replicate.
“We’re not proud, we’re not egotistical,” McMillon said. “If somebody’s doing something better than we are, let’s copy and paste what we should. In the case of Amazon and others, clearly customers are responding to convenience.”
The chief executive’s comments come as the retailer launches a number of new tech initiatives this summer, including an in-home delivery service allowing customers to get items delivered to their fridge while they’re out, community solar gardens to help it reduce its energy bill, and through its efforts to tackle Amazon’s monopoly of the drone delivery market by filing nearly twice as many patents over the past year as it did the year before.