E-commerce in Walmart
As the biggest retailer in the world, it appears that even e-commerce is in the same scale. With operations in many countries, the retailer uses e-commerce to offer access to premium products at low prices whenever, and wherever they are needed. E-commerce at Walmart is operated in a number of ways. For instance, Walmart has websites in over ten countries where it has operations. Through these websites, its customers can opt to have their products shipped off to a store near them or to their homes. Additionally, this allows online shopping through its website. Products are outlined on their home page for the viewing of customers. E-commerce is also operated through different payment options. The different payment option allows significant online traffic (Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. 2014).
E-commerce is also used effectively to increase their customer base. Through e-commerce, Walmart uses social, online, mobile and physical stores to offer its customers an experience where they can purchase their wares whenever and wherever they need them. In an attempt to increase its online shopping, Walmart has transformed some of its stores into distribution hubs in order to compete with other players in the online shopping market. The expectation is that its strong e-commerce platforms will help this new business model take off and flourish like the flagship retail stores (Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. 2014).
Through e-commerce, Walmart has strengthens its targeted acquisitions in order to boost its presence in mobile and social marketing. Additionally, through data collected through e-commerce platforms like websites, social medial and mobile phones, Walmart can make informed decisions on how to better improve its customer experience. The significance of this in its business model is exemplified by the acquisition of a predictive analytics firm in order to perform an analysis of big data in order to increase its online presence, marketing, merchandising, and applications aimed at preventing fraud (Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. 2014).
E-commerce and Competitive Advantage
There is a resurgence and deep-sited interest in e-commerce amongst many businesses in the industry today. Part of this is the competitive advantage that e-commerce affords businesses. Through e-commerce, Walmart is able to create a deep and effective product catalogue that gives it competitive advantage over other retailers. This is because it reduces the time cycle that a customer undergoes before locating a particular item in the stores. A customer can even order the item and have it shipped to their home. Additionally, e-commerce enables Walmart to reach new customers that it could not reach previously (Khosrow-Pour, 2013).
Through internet presence, customers in geographical regions where Walmart does not have physical stores can still shop from the organization’s online store and have their products shipped. This gives the organization a competitive advantage over other organizations. The speed and convenience of shoppers has also been augmented greatly by the use of e-commerce at Walmart. In the retail outlets, customers have to cue in order to pay for their wares. However, through the e-commerce platforms adopted by Walmart, the speed and convenience of the shoppers is improved (Guarda, Augusto & Silva, 2012).
Finally, e-commerce has enabled Walmart increase its productivity. This is because the application of e-commerce platforms does not require more time or employees. Operations run concurrently with those in its physical stores because the customer ‘ serves’ themselves through the placement of orders and payments. As such, the organization is more productive because more turnovers per day are recorded without significant investments in human resource and time (Khosrow-Pour, 2013).
Guarda, T., Augusto, M. & Silva, C. (2012). Competitive Advantage in e-Commerce: The Case of Database Marketing. Business, Economics, Financial Sciences, and Management Advances in Intelligent and Soft Computing 143: 123-130.
Khosrow-Pour, M. (2013). E-commerce for organizational development and competitive advantage. Hershey. Business Science Reference
Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (2014). Walmart Global e-Commerce. http://corporate. walmart. com/our-story/our-business/global-ecommerce