business news in context, analysis with attitude

MarketWatch reports that as Walmart looks to "gain ground" on's commanding lead in the e-commerce sector, it "is also hoping its global database of customer information will give it a better read on consumers. In the past 18 months, Wal-Mart has built or expanded three technology centers in San Bruno, California; Bangalore and Sao Paulo.  In the San Bruno and San Francisco Bay area, a 1,500-people global online commerce unit has been installed, separate from the corporate home base in Bentonville, Ark."

The story says that "among some of its initiatives, Wal-Mart’s tech team will now constantly update its home page and search functions to make it easier and more interesting to shop. Over the next two days, for instance, in the U.S. is rolling out a new home page design that includes features that shows what’s trending on its site, including on a local store level.

"While Wal-Mart is behind on the initiative compared to its retail counterparts such as Home Depot Inc. HD , the company this year also began to give credit to stores for online sales generated in their local area to encourage employees to help customers in stores find things online." And, MarketWatch writes, "The company’s team also developed a tool last year that will allow it to compare its prices online on a real time basis against its rivals and adjust instantly, compared to in the past when it wasn’t as frequent or had to be done manually."
KC's View:
Walmart should be totally unconcerned about whether its sales come from supercenters, traditional stores, Neighborhood Markets, Express stores or from its online store. It should just care about the sales being from Walmart, and at some level that seems to the culture that the company is trying to create.

Easier said than done, though. As I've suggested here before, the company's long bricks-and-mortar legacy is almost genetically engineered to create antibodies that will fight off any threat to the supercenter business, and that's a hard thing to re-engineer. Or de-engineer.