@WalmartLabs; the future of Wal-Mart is now


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What percentage of Wal-Mart shoppers have smart phones…no, no, not cell phones…smart phones?
  According
to the Twice website, the answer is 50%
Does that surprise you?  Well, how
about this: Among Wal-Mart shoppers under the age of 35, that percentage is
75%.
  (See: “Walmart: Smartphones Taking
retail Back to its Roots.”
)

The notion of the Wal-Mart consumer as computer clueless
and technology lacking is a stereotype that everyone in business, including
some Wal-Mart buyers, needs to move beyond. 

Simply put, Walmart is competing for a class of shopper that, whether
rural or urban, is just as much a part of the 21st century as anyone else in the
country.

Wal-Mart’s top management knows it.  That was what was apparent in a great New
York Times
article by Claire Cain Miller and Stephanie Clifford, “To Catch Up,
Walmart Moves To Amazon Turf.” 
Wal-Mart,
that bastion of Bentonville, Arkansas has taken a position in the heart of
Silicon Valley.
  Here is how the article
puts  it: 
“The country’s largest retailer, which for years didn’t blink at
would-be competitors, is now under such a threat from Amazon that it is frantically
playing catch-up by learning the technology business
, including starting
@WalmartLabs, its dot-com headquarters.”

Walmart is chasing technology talent and doing so means
it has to play by a different set of rules. 
When you compete with Kmart you serve ham sandwiches on white
bread.  When you compete with Google and
Apple, gone are the ham sandwiches and in is”…white asparagus panna cotta with
house-smoked salmon tartar, morel mushroom macaroons and charcuterie from a
whole pig.”  Yes, that’s what was served recently
at a recent Wal-Mart event in San Bruno, California. 

Not only is Walmart hunting for talent but the company is
buying it as well.  @WalmartLabs recently
purchased four companies technology companies: 
Torbit, OneOps, Tasty Labs and Inkiru.

Walmart sees the future as an integration of the physical
and the digital; whether in consumer products or the shopping experience;  if they see it that way, shouldn’t we all?

 

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