business news in context, analysis with attitude

…with brief, occasional, italicized and sometimes gratuitous commentary…

Fox Business has a story about why Walmart has decided to offer fewer items (about 220,000 SKUs) for next-day delivery than Amazon (millions of SKUs):

“Despite the large difference, it seems like Walmart isn’t rushing to match Amazon’s next-day delivery. Walmart e-commerce CEO Marc Lore said Friday at the company’s annual shareholders meeting in Bentonville, Arkansas that it would be too expensive to offer next-day delivery for all of its products.”

“Certainly we think the breadth of assortment is critical,” Lore said in response to a question. “…We think that offering now the 200,000, but growing to hundreds of thousands more represents a really high percentage of sales done. And if we can offer that next-day experience in a consistent way with no membership fees we think that’s a very compelling value proposition … After you get past the top, let's say, hundreds of thousands, or top million SKUs, with overnight or next-day delivery, it gets exponentially more expensive … There’s a limited pool of dollars and you have to decide where to invest in the value prop … Do you invest beyond the top 80 percent of sales? Do you go for speed there? Or do you take those dollars and put it into same-day delivery of grocery?”

However, Lore also said that Walmart plans to add hundreds of thousands of items to the next-day-delivery program in the future.

TechCrunch writes that Walmart is saying that one-year after it launched its startup Jetblack personal shopping service in New York City, “two-thirds of customers engage with the service on a weekly basis, and spend an average of $1,500 per month on JetBlack purchases.”

The story points out that this “doesn’t mean the customers are only buying products from Walmart or its subsidiaries like — JetBlack is a standalone e-commerce business incubated by Walmart, and will deliver products from other retailers as well. In fact, the only things it won’t deliver are fresh groceries, alcohol, CBD-related products, tobacco and prescription medications and lenses.”

Yahoo Finance has an interview with Walmart CEO Doug McMillon in which he “shared three tips for associates who might one day want his job at the helm of the world's largest retailer.”

Those three tips are “don't forget your short-term objectives” (and remain focused on getting today’s job done well) … “be a great teammate … Helping other people develops your leadership skills, and people start to see you as a natural leader” … and “take on a challenge or task that isn't getting done,” because these “are great learning opportunities, and occasionally you can really change something there, and people tend to notice it.”

McMillon, of course, started at Walmart almost three decades ago as an hourly associate.

He should’ve offered a fourth tip - pray that senior execs with names like Lore and McKenna and Foran, who may be hoping to get McMillon’s job someday, get hit by a bus.
KC's View: