Amazon’s unstoppable growth has set the entire world of retail back on its heels, but at least one company has the footprint to stand in its way. With $500 billion in annual sales and 11,700 locations across the world, Walmart is still more than three times the size of Amazon in yearly revenue–and it’s not about to be left behind.
So over the past two years, Walmart has invested heavily in e-commerce. It snatched up Jet.com, Bonobos, and Modcloth to expand its online footprint into hip millennial territory, along with the delivery service Parcel to expedite its shipping. More recently, it started offering Amazon-style conveniences like free two-day shipping with no membership fees, and one-button reorder options. Such updates have enabled Walmart’s online sales to grow 50% between 2016 and 2017, but that growth is already slowing. Jet.com faltered as Walmart struggled to woo the urban market. Walmart may be the bigger retailer, but Amazon’s online revenue in 2017 was almost 10 times that of Walmart’s ($118.57 billion vs. $11.5 billion, respectively)–and Amazon is still growing at a faster rate despite this difference in scale.
This week, Walmart is debuting a totally redesigned website–and it’s anything but an Amazon clone. Whereas Amazon feels like a digital warehouse stacked to the brim with seemingly random recommendations on its home page and an endless, searchable list of products, the new Walmart.com aims to be warm and approachable, with imagery that evokes a lifestyle brand rather than a place to just get good deals. Walmart plans to balance algorithmic recommendations with human curation. And most of all, it wants to leverage its greatest asset–those 4,700 physical stores–to take on the competition.
“Walmart.com is not just a national e-commerce retailer, but actually an extension of your local Walmart,” says Jordan Sweetnam, SVP, customer experience & product at Walmart U.S. eCommerce.