Is Walmart Catching Up With Amazon In The Online Shopping Race?

Image courtesy of Mike Mozart

In the world of retail, bricks-and-mortar retailers have one common enemy: Amazon. Walmart may finally be catching up with the e-commerce giant, reporting a 69% jump in online sales last quarter.

Walmart announced Thursday that along with the uptick in its digital sales, the company’s total revenue went up 1.4%, beating estimates.

The Arkansas-based retailer has had a bit of a love-hate relationship with online sales, but it’s been pushing hard in recent years to compete with Amazon: It tried — and then ditched — a subscription service called ShippingPass in favor of offering free two-day shipping on millions of products with a lower minimum purchase price and began offering discounts on products ordered online but picked up in-store.

Last month, the company began testing in-store screens that let shoppers buy things online if they couldn’t find them while inside the big box store.

Walmart has also gone on a bit of an e-commerce buying spree — snapping up, ModCloth, MooseJaw, ShoeBuy, and possibly Bonobos.

These efforts are starting to pay off, with CEO Doug McMillon telling analysts on this morning’s conference call that the company is “encouraged” with its start to the year.

“In U.S. e-commerce, we like the traction and we’re working hard to make even more improvements, McMillon said, noting that now has 50 million first- and third-party items to choose from compared to 10 million at this time last year.

He also pointed to some of Walmart’s recent e-commerce acquisitions, which have helped further improve the assortment of items available online.

“The acquisitions have received a lot of attention, but our plan in e-commerce is not to buy our way to success,” McMillon said. Though those acquisitions are helping Walmrat speed some things up, “the majority of our growth is, and will be, organic.”

“We’re making progress in providing the seamless shopping experience our customer’s desire and we will keep moving along this journey,” he said.

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