Walmart Continues to Emphasize E-Commerce and Omnichannel; Merges E-Commerce and IT Groups
Jan. 19, 2016
Two pieces of news from Walmart this weekend underscore the retailing giant’s commitment to e-commerce signaling health in the sector overall, despite tepid overall growth in retail sales last year. On Friday, the company said it would shutter its Walmart Express stores, a pilot program that had been testing smaller locations since 2011, so it can focus on its Supercenters, “growing the e-commerce business and expanding Pickup services for customers.” Walmart noted that it plans to invest more than $1 billion this year into e-commerce and digital platforms.
Part of that emphasis took shape on Saturday with news that the company will merge its corporate IT department at the Bentonville, Ark. headquarters with @WalmartLabs, its Silicon Valley-based e-commerce development unit. In an internal memo leaked in published reports quoted Neil Ashe, the company’s president and CEO of Global eCommerce, as he explained the essence of the unified brick-and-mortar, PC and mobile experience that defines omnichannel commerce: “Our customers don’t think of these as different experiences. To them, it’s just Walmart or Sam’s Club,” Ashe said in the memo.
Leadership of the two units will remain with CIO Karenann Terrell and CTO Jeremy King, but according to the memo, they will report to Ashe as head of the combined group, which will be called Walmart Technology.