Walmart posted impressive e-commerce growth in Q3 2017, with digital sales advancing 50% year-over-year (YoY). While this marks a slowdown from the company's last quarter, which saw 60% YoY e-commerce growth, it nonetheless helped lift total revenue 4% YoY to $123 billion.
Comparable sales for Walmart US were up nearly 3% YoY, while Walmart International posted a 4% YoY gain in net sales to $29.5 billion.
Heading into the holiday season, honing its automation capabilities and improving its fulfillment network appear to be in focus for Walmart, as it looks to keep up with chief rival Amazon.
The retailer highlighted some of its innovations in automation and delivery as part of its growth strategy.
- Walmart recently partnered with robotics company Bossa Nova to help it automate checking inventory on store shelves, freeing up associates to assist customers. It also cited the use of apps to help its associates with inventory management and price changes as part of its plan to increase store productivity.
- The retailer acquired logistics startup Parcel to ramp up its same- and next-day delivery for Jet.com and Walmart.com orders. Parcel was already providing delivery services for another recent Walmart acquisition, Bonobos. And although the company is concentrated in New York City, a large, densely populated area that can be complicated to deliver in, it's become an expert at speedy delivery, giving Walmart an advantage in the city.
Focusing on its supply chain and delivery capabilities ahead of the holidays is a smart move, as Walmart will be neck-and-neck with Amazon for customers. Price is overwhelmingly the top priority among consumers this season, which is helping keep Walmart.com — which is known for its low prices — at the top of consumers’ minds. However, Walmart can ensure its physical stores remain an asset by having shelves fully stocked, freeing associates to help holiday shoppers find gifts.
Additionally, offering same- and next-day shipping in major metropolitan areas can help Walmart contend with Amazon’s rapid delivery speeds, making its online offerings more comparable, and possibly drawing customers away from the e-commerce giant.
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