From Walmart investing more in its online shopping platform to Amazon continuing to invest in its brick-and-mortar expansion, the two retail giants are battling it out.
Unlike last year, Walmart, although by a small margin, topped Amazon this year, pulling ahead as the top retail destination for holiday shoppers this season. More consumers said they would shop at Walmart and Kmart this year compared to one year ago. The close of Toys "R" Us may be a contributing factor to this.
So what can retailers learn from Walmart’s battle with Amazon?
Don’t forget where you came from. Walmart is increasingly aware of its e-commerce competition and has bolstered its offerings, most recently adding a 3-hour delivery from Jet.com. But it hasn't let up the gas on its stores. Omnichannel is the name of the game, which includes not only doubling down on e-commerce but also improving its mobile and same-day delivery. This strategic investment has resulted in an increase in online sales as well as its most significant gains in same-store sales growth in over a decade.
Keep your eyes on the future. Walmart has mastered the delicate balancing act of doing what works well for it right now while keeping an eye on opportunities crossing the horizon. While it has focused on improving in-store experience, it has slowed down the pace of brick-and-mortar expansion. Instead of adding its usual average of 200 Supercenters annually, it only opened about 35 Supercenters in 2017 and has shifted focus to remodeling roughly 500 stores per year.
Think outside the box. Walmart has also been able to take a different look at its existing network of 4,700 stores to gain an edge on the booming online grocery business. Walmart's online grocery delivery service will be accessible to approximately 40% of U.S. households by the end of 2018, driven by its remodel strategy.
So, while Amazon has dominated the headlines, Walmart, that sleeping giant, has been quietly gaining momentum across e-commerce, mobile, and food delivery. It will be exciting to see who ends up winning the retail battle of the year this holiday season. Yet, as Amazon and Walmart battle it out, consumers will always win -- no matter who ends up on top.