retail news in context, analysis with attitude

The Northwest Arkansas Democrat Gazette reports that Walmart, having made a series of acquisitions of e-commerce companies in recent months in an effort to upgrade both its technology and consumer offerings, continues to be in the hunt for additional purchases.

"We're open and looking at all possible opportunities to enhance customer-value proposition and expand our merchandising expertise and brand relationships," said Marc Lore, the company's e-commerce chief. "So there's a lot of categories that fit that description and we're actively looking."

Lore, of course, was the founder and CEO of Jet, which Walmart purchased last fall for $3.3 billion.

The story frames Walmart's strategy this way:

"Since Lore has been in charge of Wal-Mart's U.S. e-commerce operations, the company has purchased shoe and apparel company ShoeBuy.com for about $70 million and added outdoor online retailer Moosejaw for $51 million ... Collectively, the acquisitions have given the retailer access to new customers with brands that don't typically sell their items in Wal-Mart stores on or Walmart.com. It also has helped Wal-Mart inherit e-commerce expertise in specific categories, which the company is taking advantage of by placing the leaders of Hayneedle, ShoeBuy and Moosejaw in charge of their respective areas at Wal-Mart."
KC's View:
The question - and I'm not the only one thinking this - is what it is going to take for Walmart to move the needle on e-commerce to the degree that it accounts for a significant share of its revenue. (Profits probably are another story, and will come later.)

The other question is whether Walmart will be able to make the cultural adjustments necessary to integrate all these companies into its operations without damaging or diluting their DNA. That may be the toughest challenge of all.