Walmart to promote e-commerce know-how to smaller retailers

Just as Amazon Web Services is the profit center that serves a large part of Amazons other shops, Walmart CEO Doug McMillon became increasingly interested in expanding his company’s profit pools beyond the core business of retailing.

Starting Wednesday, small and medium-sized retailers will be able to acquire technology developed by Walmart that enables shoppers to purchase items online and pick them up in-store. These companies will also be able to add products to Walmart’s online marketplace with just a few clicks. To offer the suite of cloud-based services, Walmart has partnered with Adobewho sells the software through a subscription.

“When we started our journey, Covid had just struck,” said Anshu Bhardwaj, vice president of technology strategy and commercialization at Walmart Global Technology. “We reaped the benefits of this omnichannel journey early on.”

Walmart saw sales grow both online and in-store in the wake of the pandemic. While some other retailers have been forced to close stores to contain the spread of Covid-19, Walmart was considered a major retailer and stayed open. Some customers who wanted to limit the time they spent in stores took advantage of Walmart’s online purchase and in-store pickup. These developments accelerated the company’s e-commerce growth. The retailer’s online sales rose 79% for the fiscal year ended Jan. 29, with pickup and delivery sales up triple-digit year-over-year.

Only 7% of US retailers had the “buy online in-store pickup” option enabled in January 2018. The pandemic sped that rate to 22% of retailers last month, the company said Adobe Digital Economy Index.

A significant opportunity remains. Last December, Adobe and market researcher IDC estimated the total addressable market for content and commerce software as a service to be around $ 44 billion.

For those wondering why Walmart wants its potential competitors to succeed, Bhardwaj said these smaller businesses are served anyway.

“Digitization is happening everywhere as consumers evolve,” said Bhardwaj. “There is no choice but to evolve with them.”

Walmart’s size and size, and its proximity to 90% of the US population within 10 miles of any of its stores gives it a significant advantage. Additionally, Bhardwaj said, “We really want to serve our communities, our shareholders, our stakeholders and the community better.”

She noted that about a year and a half ago, McMillon changed the language of a slide he used in presentations from “serve our shareholders” to “serve our shareholders”. Bhardwaj said it was a meeting with McMillon that fueled her idea of ​​selling the technology Walmart developed to other retailers.

Bhardwaj has been involved in other major Walmart technology initiatives. In particular, she performed the successful Scan & Go technology at Sam’s Club, which enables customers to check purchases with a smartphone while adding items to their shopping cart.

The new software business opens up a potential source of income for Walmart and fits in with its strategy to start new businesses that serve new customers and lets the profit flow back into the company to finance further innovations.

Neither Walmart nor Adobe publicly share expectations of how big the business opportunity could be, but Bhardwaj said, “I’ll bet my life on it,” as their current role at the retailer was created to bring their idea to life.

For Adobe, the Walmart partnership increases visibility.

“We can now offer a more holistic solution, a first-class omnichannel experience,” said Peter Sheldon, Adobe’s senior director of Commerce Strategy, in an interview. “From Adobe, [these businesses] will receive world-class e-commerce and world-class omnichannel experiences from Walmart. “

The small and medium-sized retailers will use Adobe to operate e-commerce sites, including shopping cart, search, navigation and product recommendation functions. (Walmart does not use Adobe commerce software for these functions for its own website. It has its own technology.)

Small and medium-sized businesses and retailers with $ 1 billion or more in annual sales already use a variety of Adobe e-commerce products, including Ritual help, Verizon, Unilever, coke, PS, Honeywell, Trader Joes and more.

Walmart provides the technology that enables staff to pick and pack online purchases, and geofencing technology staff need to know when customers will be arriving to pick up their orders.

Singapore e-commerce gamers face challenges in logistics and supply

Consumers are flocking to shop online as people want to avoid crowds due to the pandemic, but getting the goods into the buyer’s hands can be a challenge.

To capitalize on future opportunities, companies selling online must build on an infrastructure to support their business, said James Root, senior partner and chairman of Bain Futures, a global think tank at consulting firm Bain & Company.

“Ecommerce platforms need two infrastructures: They need a great digital payment. Second, they need a great supply chain, ”he told CNBC. “And both to manage cross-border products that come into a market like Singapore, to have fast customs clearance and easy paper processing for them.”

Ultimately, convenience is king … It’s the convenience of shopping when I want, where I want. And it’s 24/7.

“Adequate market skills” are also required, said Root.

“For example, parcel delivery locations near the large apartment blocks and very good transport on the last mile to get products into the hands of consumers at the speed we are teaching our consumers to expect now,” he says elaborated.

When Singapore imposed a “breaker” or partial lockdown at the height of the Covid-19 crisis last year, it exposed the delivery and logistics challenges e-commerce companies are facing.

On November 1, 2016, an employee picks up orders from the shelves of a warehouse in the newly opened SingPost Regional eCommerce Logistics Hub in Singapore.

ROSLAN RAHMAN | AFP | Getty Images

“Ultimately, convenience is king,” said Vaughan Ryan, managing director of E-Commerce Asia Pacific at NielsenIQ. “It’s the convenience of shopping when I want, where I want. And it’s available 24/7. This allows consumers to shop more often, especially in Singapore because we’re so digital.”

Still, he said, “Nobody moved fast enough.”

“The consumer has been ahead of the pace manufacturers and retailers can do – and is fast catching up.”

“There is still a lot of room for improvement in the logistical control of the whole thing. Even with the immediate movement control orders in the circuit breaker, the time windows for the actual online order were not available. That has improved a lot … There is a lot to be done in this area, “emphasized Ryan.

Closing the gap

Ninja Van, based in Singapore, is one of the fastest growing last mile logistics companies in Southeast Asia.

We connect the virtual world and the physical world – you buy something online and we make sure it is delivered to your doorstep, in a locker or in a nearby supermarket, “said Lai Chang Wen, CEO and Co-Founder of Ninja Van, a courier company in Southeast Asia.

He said Ninja Van turned to social media to help customers track their goods and improve the delivery process to cope with the changing times.

Ninja Van’s fleet of delivery trucks.

Ninja Van

“What we think is more important today is… the ability for us to interact with you through your favorite chat messenger. Whether Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, Telegram, you choose it, you subscribe – and we give you real-time updates on where your driver is. “

“We think this is a new form of tracking that fits in with the way we use our phones, how we interact these days, where it’s not too intrusive and no one is necessarily calling you,” he said.

Ninja Van is currently working with ecommerce sellers in the city-state to bring out some of the supply-related disorders.

“What we see as an opportunity over the next few years is, we’re dealing with a lot of these e-commerce sellers, and they import a lot of their goods from overseas – we help them deliver (properly) to their customers,” said Lai .

“Could we help them with their supply chains too? We’re pretty much working on how to bridge the supply chains of all these ecommerce sellers, ”he added.

– Correction: This story has been updated to accurately reflect that Vaughan is Ryan from NielsenIQ.

Ladies participation in Asia ecommerce is a $280 billion alternative

Southeast Asia’s e-commerce market could grow by more than $ 280 billion by 2030 if large online shopping marketplaces emerge do more to encourage and empower women entrepreneurs, a new report by the International Finance Corporation found.

The “anonymity” of e-commerce has lowered many of the barriers to entry women traditionally face and given them opportunities to thrive in new sectors, said Amy Luinstra, IFC’s gender program manager for East Asia and the Pacific CNBC on Thursday.

Still, “many of the inequalities women face in traditional retailing are bleeding into the online world,” she said, including securing access to finance.

Luinstra urged major e-commerce players to do more to support female sellers and capitalize on the market opportunity.

For platforms with funding opportunities, this is a great way to attract more women and help them thrive.

Amy Luinstra

Gender Program Manager (East Asia and Pacific), IFC

This includes expanding funding for women, providing training and encouraging them to get involved in higher value sectors like electronics, she said.

“For platforms with funding opportunities, this is a great way to attract more women and help them thrive by making sure they are aware of and are able to take advantage of funding opportunities,” Luinstra told CNBC’s Squawk Box Asia . “

A woman wears a protective face mask while waiting for customers at her store in Jakarta, Indonesia on Tuesday March 31, 2020.

NurPhoto | Getty Images

Your comments are against the background of the Covid-19 pandemic, which is said to have disproportionately disadvantaged women.

The IFC report, which drew on data from Southeast Asian e-commerce website Lazada, found that women were on their way to achieving gender equality in e-commerce in 2019. But even with the surge in online retail over the past year, the additional caregiving and time constraints women faced meant that progress took a step backwards.

“Before the pandemic, women stood their ground – in some cases outperformed men and even … participating men,” Luinstra said.

For example, in the Philippines, women made up 64% of the sellers on Lazada’s website, but their sales fell 27% during the pandemic, the report said.

“That has changed under the pandemic and so we are starting to fill the void and the ability to fill that void which adds up to the huge $ 280 billion figure,” she said, referring to the im Report called Market Opportunity.

Correction: This article has been updated to correctly reflect the report’s 2030 growth estimates.