WAL-MART ‘SPENDS HARD’ TO RIVAL AMAZON
Firm buying up smaller online retailers to grab bigger market share
WAL-MART Stores, the 800-pound gorilla of retail, is running hard to catch up in an increasingly crucial segment where it is neither the biggest nor the best: e-commerce.
The company has been gobbling up smaller and niche players in e-commerce in an effort to reach online shopping market leader Amazon.
Whether those efforts are paying off will be a focal point when Wal-Mart Stores reports quarterly earnings on Thursday.
A bit more than half of all funds spent online in the United States now goes to Amazon, according to the bank Macquarie.
Part of Amazon’s success stems from its breadth of offerings, which includes the Kindle that people use for reading and the Prime service that broadcasts popular television shows, said Krista Fabregas, e-commerce staff writer at FitSmallBusiness.com.
“It’s because Amazon has been doing such a great job at injecting itself into our everyday life,” she said.
Wal-Mart has been doing some shopping of its own, in an effort to make up ground against Amazon.
It spent US$3.3 billion last year to buy Jet.com, which was started by e-commerce entrepreneur Marc Lore.
In less than five months, Lore has directed Wal-Mart to a number of acquisitions, including Shoebuy.com (US$70 million), ModCloth (US$45 million) and MooseJaw (US$51 million).
Wal-Mart is also in talks to acquire the menswear chain Bonobos for US$300 million, according to a source. AFP
Wal-Mart’s objective is to become a go-to place online for ‘essential’ products, such as toilet paper, beauty products, groceries and holiday gifts and children’s toys.