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Partnerships over Acquisitions:
Walmart's model to eComm Expansion
2020 Jun 24
Tracy Nguyen

Walmart’s e-commerce business grew by 74% in the first quarter, solidifying the company as the second-largest e-commerce platform in the U.S., trailing only Amazon. According to eMarketer, Amazon still holds the lead at 38.7% of the U.S. e-commerce market, while Walmart represents 5.3%. So, what is Walmart’s plan to continue its e-commerce growth?



Walmart’s investments over the years in e-commerce are slowly paying off, and its recent shift from acquisitions to partnerships may place it in a better position to compete with Amazon. In the past couple of weeks, Walmart secured three new partnerships to grow and expand its marketplace.

 

thredUP
Learning from its acquisition mistakes of ModCloth, Bonobos and ELOQUII, Walmart is (re)entering the fashion market through its partnership with thredUP, the leading online secondhand reseller for women and children fashion, footwear and accessories. This partnership will allow Walmart to expand its online fashion assortment to nearly 750,000 pre-owned items, featuring designer brands such as Marc Jacobs, Michael Kors, Tommy Hilfiger, and Coach. With the wider assortment of fashion items, Walmart hope to drive additional traffic to their website via search.

“Save More. Live Better” holds true as the company accounts for the consumer shift in behavior for sustainability and budget-conscious households, especially amid the pandemic with furloughs and layoffs. Consumers can shop at www.walmart.com/thredup to find the items they want and benefit from Walmart’s free shipping on orders $35+ and free returns at Walmart stores.



 

HGTV
While this is not a “new” partnership between Walmart and Discovery, it is a new and opportunistic deal that will increase awareness of the retailer’s home goods line. The TV ad deal will feature Walmart’s products integrated within the new HGTV Design At Your Door 8-episode “self-shot” series. Shoppable articles will be created for HGTV.com, and a hub on Walmart.com will highlight products featured in the show. The deal also includes a Walmart-sponsored 30-second vignette, titled “5 Reasons Why: You Can Do It, Too,” to empower viewers to create memorable experiences with their families involving home improvement projects during COVID-19.



 

Shopify
On June 15, 2020, Walmart announced its partnership with Shopify. Through this partnership, Walmart can offer Shopify’s small- and medium-size-business sellers access to Walmart’s marketplace, a channel to sell their products and a seamless integration with listing their products on Walmart.com. Another advantage for Shopify sellers is the use of Walmart’s fulfillment and shipping network. Walmart benefits in the expansion of product assortment beyond its current 75 million items, allowing it to better compete with Amazon. Walmart expects to add 1,200 approved Shopify sellers by the end of 2020. While this is still small compared to Amazon, it is a step in the right direction to grow Walmart’s e-commerce marketplace.



These strategic partnerships are just the beginning as Walmart continues to invest in, and build momentum for, its online presence. It’ll be interesting to see who’s next on their list.

At Velocity Commerce Group we are staying ahead of the curve and looking for ways to push innovation in the e-commerce space. For help in identifying the best opportunities for your business, feel free to reach out via LinkedIn or email.

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