To catch up, Wal-Mart moves to Amazon turf

Oct 21 2013, 10:57 IST
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SummaryA plucky Silicon Valley company, forced to compete for talented engineers, is trying it all.

many of its 6,200 stores overseas into e-commerce assets.

Two-thirds of the US population is within five miles of a Walmart, according to the company, and more than 10% of items ordered online are shipped from stores. Countries in which it has a physical presence for e-commerce include Brazil, China and Britain.

It is also allowing customers to pick up online orders in stores or, in a test in Washington, in lockers. It is trying same-day delivery in five markets, and grocery delivery in the Bay Area and Denver.

Executives say Walmart wants to become almost as fast as Amazon, but for people who can’t afford the $79 fee of Amazon’s Prime service, with its free two-day shipping.

Amazon has been building warehouses throughout the US as it tries to expedite its shipping and conquer online grocery delivery. It has had lockers at stores like 7-Eleven for about a year, though in September, RadioShack and Staples stopped participating in the programme. Abroad, Amazon has moved even faster with services like same-day delivery and groceries.

Following Amazon, Walmart has revamped its online and mobile technology. It has software to watch social media like Pinterest for popular products and to monitor online prices and lower them accordingly or alert merchants.

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