Over the last year, Walmart has expanded from 10 million products available on its e-commerce site to more than 50 million, according to Brett Biggs, chief financial officer and executive vice president of Walmart, who spokes at the dbAccess Global Consumer Conference in Paris last week.
Biggs also said that Walmart has learned from acquiring companies such as Jet, Moosejaw and ModCloth that “you can try things with a brand that you may try on one brand, you may not try on the other. It gives us a way to test and do some other things. He added that the Jet acquisition in particular already had influenced decisions made with the Walmart.com shopping site.
Biggs also commented on Walmart’s recently announced test under which store associates are being tapped to make deliveries to customer homes on the way home from work, saying Walmart is unique among retailers in have the scale to attempt something like that.
Notably, these comments came at an event that was held a few days before Walmart announced its latest e-commerce acquisition, the $310 million purchase of Bonobos, which had been long rumored. The retail giant is making a name for itself in e-commerce by becoming a holding company of sorts for smaller e-commerce retailers, and sector analysts aren't sure what to make of that strategy.
What is clear right now is that Walmart is continuing to push down that path, and doesn't seem at all worried whether or not people can see the stitches in the places where it is adding these acquisitions. In fact, some of Biggs comments suggest Walmart sees Bonobos, Jet, Moosejaw, ModCloth, etc, as innovation labs where Walmart can see what's evolving on the fringes of retail and perhaps adopt it for Walmart at its own pace.
Although, Walmart.com appears to be doing pretty well itself as an e-commerce operation. Increasing product selection from 10 million products to 50 million products over the course of a year is impressive, but Biggs was the first to point out that even that high-volume growth leaves Walmart behind some retailers, namely Amazon, which according to some sources had about 400 million products for sale at the beginning of this year.
More importantly, Walmart's first quarter earnings showed e-commerce sales were up 63%.