Cashback News – May 12: What’s the latest news with Walmart?

Walmart latest newsLike Amazon, Walmart has huge impact on the retail industry, its competitors and its growing efforts to enhance its e-commerce sales. This news roundup will get you current on what’s up with Walmart. CEO Doug McMillon said while Walmart will close 269 stores, including 102 smaller format Walmart Express stores, e-commerce is very much a part of future growth. According to Ram Rampalli, Walmart’s head of global content acquisition, the company is looking for its vendors and suppliers to provide new product ideas based on data from Sam’s Club is battling with competitor Costco by improving its e-commerce offer through its 655 stores.

In an effort to compete with Amazon, Walmart now offers online grocery shopping and local grocery pickup at more than 200 of its US stores. Former eBay VP Jordan Sweetnam joins Walmart eCommerce as VP of global product. While Amazon and subsidiary has 43% of online baby products sales, Walmart has a respectable 23% and Target 18%. With e-commerce revenue of just 2.8% of total sales, Walmart has lots of room to grow online. Even big retailers like Walmart are not immune to credit card data theft as a recent Fredericksburg incident showed.

CEO goes into detail of shutdown of Walmart Express How do these closings fit into your vision for where the company is going?

A: We are continuing to grow, and we’re making smart choices in managing our portfolio. Even with today’s actions, Walmart will continue to invest in its future, with plans to open more than 300 new stores worldwide over the coming year—in the U.S. Walmart intends to open 50 to 60 Supercenters, 85 to 95 Neighborhood Markets and seven to 10 Sam’s Clubs. We will also open 200 to 240 stores internationally.

We’ve said that it’s more important now than ever that we evaluate our portfolio, and doing so will allow us to build an even stronger Walmart.

We intend to win in our stores in the U.S. by strengthening the Supercenter format and optimizing Neighborhood Markets. We’ll focus on adding capabilities to our supply chain by building out a fulfillment network to create a seamless customer experience. What Walmart can do that no one else can is marry e-commerce with our existing assets to deliver a seamless shopping experience at scale. That is our vision and our mission, and managing our portfolio is essential to accomplishing our goals. Via

Wal-Mart to suppliers: Help us identify new products to sell

WalmartThe retailer monitors what customers are searching for on, then matches demand with items it knows vendors can supply immediately. Walmart Stores Inc. is known for low prices, but another way it has become the world’s largest company by sales is by offering an assortment of merchandise that matches what its customers are looking for online as well as in its stores.

There are hundreds of millions of SKUs in the world that can be legally sold, and the trick is to figure out the right assortment a retailer’s customers want, Ram Rampalli, Walmart’s global head of content acquisition, said today during a presentation on Walmart’s product information policies at SPS In:fluence, a conference hosted by SPS Commerce Inc., a provider of retail industry cloud-based supply chain technology.

To help Walmart reach ideal product assortments on its e-commerce sites and in its stores, it wants its merchandise suppliers to provide digital information about all of their products, including thorough descriptions, even if it’s for merchandise Wal-Mart has never sold or plans to sell, Rampalli said to an audience of some 200 people that included various types of suppliers. Via

Sam’s Club is padding its lead over Costco in the e-commerce wars’s Club has perennially lagged Costco Wholesale COST 0.43% , bested by its bigger competitor’s better locations and popular store brands. But the warehouse operator, a unit of Wal-Mart Stores WMT -0.62% , has been looking to bridge that gap by strengthening one area where Sam’s Club has an edge over its arch-rival: the integration of its digital business and its 655 or so stores, which the retailer refers to as “clubs.”

Case in point: last year, Sam’s completely overhauled its in-store pick-up service for online orders. As a result, use of “Club Pick-Up,” as the service is called, rose 46% year-over-year during the holiday quarter, a bright spot in an otherwise difficult season for Sam’s Club that saw comparable sales fall 0.5%. (Costco has beaten Sam’s Club on that front for seven years running.)

Club Pick-Up lets customers build and save shopping lists online so they can re-order the same items later automatically, among other features. That function is particularly useful for Sam’s business members, a segment where growth has been tentative. Via

Take That, Amazon! Walmart Expands Online Grocery Program to More Locations (WMT – Get Report) appears to be full steam ahead with its new online grocery shopping option.

The world’s largest retailer will begin offering the pickup service at two more locations in Charlotte, NC after a successful test at five stores that began last October, according to a report by the Charlotte Business Observer. Customers place their grocery orders online, choose a time to pick them up and then pull into a designated parking spot when arriving at the store. From there, a Walmart worker brings the groceries to the person’s car.

Walmart in April expanded its free curbside pickup of groceries into eight new cities, increasing the number of stores with the service by a third to about 200. The cities added included: Kansas City; Austin, Texas; Boise, Idaho; Richmond and Virginia Beach, Va.; Provo, Utah; Daphne, Ala.; and Charleston, SC. Via

Walmart Snags eBay Vet as It Seeks Marketplace Sellers

Walmart Jordan SweetnamWalmart snagged a 12-year veteran of eBay as it revealed plans to open its Marketplace to thousands of sellers. Jordan Sweetnam was most recently Vice President of Seller Experience for eBay, where he oversaw the development, strategy and delivery of tools and experiences to sellers. He joined Walmart this month as Vice President of Global Product at Walmart eCommerce.

Walmart spokesperson Bao Nguyen confirmed the hire, telling EcommerceBytes, “We’re excited for Jordan to bring his rich ecommerce experience to build new experiences for Walmart customers across mobile, online and stores, leading our global user experience and product management teams.” As we reported on Friday, Walmart is seeking to accelerate the growth of its Marketplace and go from its current number of “hundreds” of third-party merchants to thousands.

Walmart launched its first retail website in 2000, and in 2014 began rolling out a new platform. Ben Galbraith, who was Vice President of Global Products at until his departure a year ago, says on his LinkedIn profile that he was a key leader in a multi-year re-platforming effort at Walmart. “I focused on building an entirely new ecommerce site on top of the platform; was also responsible for stewarding the legacy site throughout the transition period.” Via

Amazon, Target and Walmart battle for online sales of baby goods

Whats up with WalmartWhen taking into account the $30 billion in online and offline purchases of baby products in the U.S.—including baby seats and safety products, feeding items, diapers, formula and baby bath products—the bulk of the sales, 54%-63%, go to mass merchandisers like Walmart (which gets 17%-18%) and Target (12.4%-14%).

Online, however, Amazon along with its subsidiary is by far the market leader, comprising 7.3%-10.6% of all baby products purchases in the U.S. accounts for 3.7%-5.8% of purchases,, 3.3%-4.3%, and other e-commerce outlets, 2.2%-2.8%.

The study suggests that 18%-24% of baby products purchases occur online, and that would mean Amazon/ represents roughly 43% of the baby products market online. That’s compared with Walmart’s 23% and Target’s 18%. Other e-commerce players comprise roughly 12% of the market. Via

Amazon, Wal-Mart Lead Top 25 E-commerce Retail List analysts expect e-commerce sales in the U.S. to continue growing by 10 to 12 percent a year, total e-commerce sales are already at substantial levels as traditional brick-and-mortar retailers have expanded their online efforts.

As a result, total annual retail e-commerce sales are $201 billion, according to the 180 companies tracked by eMarketer. For the top 25 retailers, total annual e-commerce sales come in at $159 billion, with Amazon Inc., Wal-Mart Stores Inc. and Apple Inc. taking the top three spots. According to eMarketer, Amazon’s e-commerce sales are $79.3 billion while Wal-Mart has $13.5 billion and Apple totals $12 billion.

Of the top 25 companies on the list, 18 are more traditional brick-and-mortar retailers that have pushed their online efforts over the past five years. These include companies such as Macy’s Inc., Nordstrom Inc., Target Corp., Gap Inc. and Neiman Marcus.

Included in the top 25 list is the share of e-commerce sales to total sales. Amazon’s pure e-commerce revenue represents 74.1 percent of total sales while number-two Wal-Mart has e-commerce revenue of just 2.8 percent of its total sales — which indicates that the world’s largest retailer has plenty of room to grow online. Indeed, analysts and industry consultants have been urging retailers to better leverage their physical stores by also seeing them as warehouses from which goods can be shipped. Via

Walmart Confirms Card Data Theft

WalmartUS retail giant Walmart has confirmed reports that a number of its customers have had their payment cards compromised and bank accounts drained, according to a police statement. The Fredericksburg Police Department has issued a warning to Central Park shoppers after it became apparent that at least 37 people who visited the local Walmart store earlier this year (in either March or April) became victims of this theft attack.

“Detectives believe the suspects are obtaining debit/credit card numbers by placing overlay devices on credit card readers at checkout counters. Today, Fredericksburg detectives received information from Walmart Global Investigations that debit/credit cards used at the Central Park Wal-Mart have been compromised,” said the agency in a statement issued on Saturday.

Police are currently investigating the incident to find out exactly which registers were tampered with. Meanwhile, customers who shopped at that location in either month are encouraged to contact their financial institution and request a new card. Via

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Cashback Industry News regularly publishes profiles of leaders in e-commerce, cashback, retail, mobile commerce and loyalty programs globally including Amazon, Alibaba, Walmart, Target, Flipkart and many more. You can get weekday morning news updates in your inbox for free by subscribing at the top of this page.