Not My Walmart
Walmart made another move. The mega-chain bought delivery company Cornershop for $225M. Let's talk about it.
Since what felt like the beginning of time, Walmart operated as the most consistent entity around. Most cities housed a store. Most family products were offered. Most prices were knocked down by their smiley face mascot. But that’s your grandparent’s Walmart. And right now we’re keenly staring at midlife crisis Walmart.
Walmart’s glory years were simple. Too simple. Stocking up meant going to Walmart. They had products for when you had needs for multiple categories (lamps & produce, diapers & shrubbery, Christmas lights & dustbusters). And don't forget large parking lots for mischief. The all-encompassing cradle they offered and the end of having to head to another crowded store to wheel around a shopping cart in the heat of summer or depths of winter to then listen to a different playlist of soul-crushing corporate Muzak is not ideal. So ya, Walmart it is.
But two things happened:
- People evolve. For several reasons that can get any LinkedIn comments section heated, new generations just operate in different places. Personally, I’ve never seen or been in a Circuit City.
- The Internet and direct-to-consumer. The Amazon. The niche brands. The democratization of options.
So what we have is your recently single friend who is trying on a bunch of outfits and hobbies to see if the cool people notice them in the parking lot (meta, right?). The more or less successful Jet acquisition happened. But high-end brands are pulling their Walmart affiliation. There's new acquisitions and partnerships. There's international expansion and autonomous interest. It is safe to say they have our attention.
Walmart used to only make the news quarterly for their earnings. Now they make the news daily with a revamped strategy. But remember there’s a reason the term “early adopters” exists. It means there are hordes of adopters elsewhere, they just come later. Everyone will either believe in this overhauled shopping experience, or they will not, because adopters adopt.
The most astute takes on Walmart:
An Inside Look At The Ups and Downs of Walmart's Journey via Harvard Business Review
The Greening of Walmart via Stanford Social Innovation Review
Walmart Not Out Of The Woods via Seeking Alpha
Walmart's Vietnam via Forbes
Inside Walmart's eCommerce Growth via Digiday (Yaguara Sighting)