What Retail Marketers Can Learn From Walmart This Holiday Season

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This holiday season is predicted to be the largest on record. For retailers, the preparation should have started a long time ago. For those late to the game, take a look at Walmart. It’s projected that the retail behemoth’s e-commerce growth rate will top 40 percent. Walmart’s success story and the strategies it has used to drive growth can be replicated by other retailers.

Drive growth this holiday season with these three lessons from Walmart–

Go With Your Strength

For Walmart, a distinctly large physical footprint is a competitive advantage because there’s still value in physical stores.

As Forrester recently pointed out, there is an inherent value in being able to return items to a store, mainly because it creates trust and confidence when ordering online. A consumer’s ability to oversee and manage that return/exchange process is invaluable (and difficult to measure).

In a year when thousands of stores (including many Walmart stores) have had to shut down, Walmart still found a way to leverage its strength. The holiday season accounts for the lion’s share of revenue for many retailers, which is why it’s important for them to know their strength and double down on it over the holidays. Now isn’t the time to

shore up weaknesses and try something radically new.

Innovate, or Else

Innovating is, perhaps, what Walmart is best known for.

Take a look at WalmartLabs, the technology arm that has helped the company grow its online sales by 63 percent in Q1 and by 60 percent in Q2.

WalmartLabs is just one of the initiatives Walmart has recently taken to thrive in e-commerce as it has for so long in traditional brick-and-mortar.

To improve on aspects of its digital operations, WalmartLabs has made fifteen strategic acquisitions—including Torbit—to improve site speed.

As retailers are doubling down on their strengths, they should also plan to innovate in 2018. And keep in mind that innovation need not be groundbreaking. On the e-commerce front, it could mean something as simple as removing the friction points that are lowering average order size, or ensuring that abandon cart emails are individualized.

Get Outside Your Comfort Zone

Walmart’s acquisition of Bonobos, an e-commerce-driven men’s fashion retailer, is not a move that caters to the average Walmart shopper. But it allows Walmart to reach (and collect data about) a growing niche of young professionals.

Look to their acquisition of Moosejaw, ModCloth, ShoeBuy, and Jet.com for further proof.

Stagnation in retail, especially right now, is the surest path to bankruptcy. Walmart stepped outside of its comfort zone to expand its digital and physical footprint in ways it simply couldn’t have achieved otherwise.

In the end, it’s all about being customer-centric.

Walmart will continue building a customer-centric experience by leveraging its physical footprint and 1.2 million store associates to cater to new and old audiences while going all-in on e-commerce tech to stay ahead of its customers and competitors.

Retail marketers, take note.

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