Wal-Mart Stores, the 800-pound gorilla of retail, is running hard to catch up in an increasingly crucial segment where it is neither the biggest nor the best: e-commerce. The company, founded in 1962 by Sam Walton, has been gobbling up smaller and niche players in e-commerce in an effort to reach online shopping market leader Amazon. Whether those efforts are paying off will be a focal point when Wal-Mart Stores reports quarterly earnings on Thursday. A bit more than half of all funds spent online in the United States now goes to Amazon, according to the bank Macquarie.
Part of Amazon’s success stems from its breadth of offerings, which includes the Kindle that people use for reading and the Prime service that broadcasts popular television shows, said Krista Fabregas, e-commerce staff writer at FitSmallBusiness.com. “It’s because Amazon has been doing such a great job at injecting itself into our everyday life,” she told AFP. “Wal-Mart is not part of everyday life, nor is Macy’s, nor is Gap, nor the other stores. We don’t have a connection with any of them throughout the day.”
Wal-Mart has been doing some shopping of its own, in an effort to make up ground against Amazon.
It spent USD 3.3 billion last year to buy Jet.com, which was started by e-commerce entrepreneur Marc Lore, whose previous company was sold to Amazon for USD 550 million. Lore is now chief executive of Walmart eCommerce US, where he oversees 15,000 employees split between Silicon Valley, Boston, Omaha and Bentonville, Arkansas, where Wal- Mart is based.