Aldo Agostinelli

The US retail behemoth is deploying a multi-faceted marketing strategy whose sole target is to conquer the e-commerce world. Here are their latest moves.

Walmart is unstoppable: the US giant intends not only to keep its own traditional clientele, but also to take back those customers who “got lost” along the ecommerce way. And to do so, they have taken several steps which are taking it directly to a face-off with the digital market main players.

Walmart challenges Amazon

Absolutely not afraid of its rival’s firepower, the global leader of retail – boasting 11.496 shops and club in 27 different countries – has launched a new service. It is called   “Walmart +” and it aims to directly challenge Amazon Prime. By paying a 98 dollar annual subscription fee customers are entitled to unlimited and free same day deliveries of food items and thousands of products – all in all 160 thousands items.

Not only: subscribers are also entitled to exclusive discounts on fuel to be obtained by using a QR code when at the petrol station, and to skip the check-out line in the giant retail points.

This latter is a system relying on the Walmart app. Customers go to a shop, scan products before putting them into their trolleys and finally pay through their smartphone by WalmartPay. And, with no hurry whatsoever, they can take their shopping bags and leave. No issue with social distancing, no contacts, less Covid19 generated anxiety.

All this for only 12,95 dollars a month, after a 15 day free trial (Walmart+ launches Sept 15, offering same-day delivery, gas discounts and cashierless checkout for $98/yr)

Amazon’s small cracks

And what about Amazon? It is still the behemoth of ecommerce, with millions of products in stock and a wide offer of music, e-books etc. However, it cannot rest on its laurels.

Prime is a consolidate system which actually works well. But during the lockdown in Italy we experienced its limits. We expected we would be able to count on Bezos’ platform for doing our shopping but sometimes we could not do it.

And during the pandemics the agri-food industry boomed: if we sum up online and offline, Walmart has recorded an increase by 97% in its business in the second quarter of the year . Therefore, being efficient in this field may be crucial.

Last but not least, over the years Prime price has consistently increased and users are not happy.

Walmart has signed a deal with Shopify

Over one million companies have been using Shopify. An impressive number of businesses which has been gradually increasing (starting from 1.200), thanks to a partnership with Walmart; businesses which will be able to show their products to about 120 million users belonging to Walmart Marketplace.

Another punch in the face of Amazon, which offers third parties an audience of  300 million global clients (Walmart partners with Shopify to expand its online marketplace).

Eyes on the GenZ

All companies are afraid of getting old. Especially, they are afraid that their customers may get old without them being able to develop customers’ loyalty among the new generation of clients. Walmart is no exception to this.

That is why its attempt to purchase TikTok should not have taken us by surprise. And Donal Trump’s executive order which may ban the app in the US unless the Chinese owner, ByteDance,  sells it has offered the company the perfect opportunity (Why does Walmart want TikTok? Look at how teens shop in China).

So, together with Microsoft, Walmart is trying to defeat all competitors and steal the GenZ’s app par excellence from their hands.

The reasons for this are various:

–      In the USA Tik Tok boasts 100 millioni users, especially young people. So the app is a fast lane to reach for them.

–      We are talking about a sort of QVC but more social and it works on smartphones. In a nutshell: mobile e-commerce.

–      The app offers a huge growth potential for the US online shopping world and Walmart does not want to lose it.

–      Taking TikTok would mead a heavy hit on Amazon, and Walmart would be much more appealing for third parties retailers, investors and advertisers. Moreover, such takeover would also benefit Microsoft considering their rivalry with Bezos concerning the cloud.

To sum up, the digital marketing, and not only digital, strategy of the retail multinational company seems to be excellent. And it would be the kind of booster for the e-commerce which, even though on a smaller scale, many local companies in Italy should try to copy.

What do you think about Walmart’s initiatives? Do you think they are good? Would you like to have some similar services in Italy as well? Tweet @AgostinelliAldo

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Aldo Agostinelli