retail news in context, analysis with attitude

US News and World Report has a story saying that Walmart "has quietly transformed itself into a technology powerhouse to compete more fiercely with Amazon and other online rivals. Walmart, highlighted by U.S. News as one of America's Most Connected Companies for its e-commerce investments, is aggressively seeking to position itself for a future in which more shoppers interact with it via computers, tablets and mobile devices."

The story goes on:

"Walmart has long been a pioneer in the warehousing and analysis of customer data and use of so-called RFID technology that uses bar codes to track and manage inventory. Now, as its customer base flocks to smartphones and social media, and as it faces new competitive pressures, it aims to be an e-commerce leader ... It has introduced more products online, including thousands since January (particularly apparel, health and beauty items, and packaged foods), offers free shipping options, and regularly upgrades the search capabilities of its site."
KC's View:
Walmart's intentions have been clearly stated, and they are ambitious ... and probably appropriate, considering Amazon's goals.

But there are a lot of people out there who believe that its ability to implement those online strategies is severely compromised by a corporate culture that favors brick-and-mortar, that sees everything in terms of driving same-store sales, that will always view online as an outlier segment of the business.