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As Walmart scales its technology organization, the company wants to provide capabilities that were developed in-house to other businesses.
Under the banner of Walmart Commerce Technologies, the company is selling retail tech to brands and retailers in areas including, fulfillment, AI and checkout. With the growth of digital and a move toward omnichannel approaches like click-and-collect, Walmart is looking to not only provide a place for brands to sell goods, but also offer the tools that power a digital business.
“We have a world class organization including technology, product and operations teams that we believe, combined with our retail strength and scale, will allow us to build a mutually beneficial flywheel that unlocks new revenue for Walmart while improving the customer experience for everyone,” Anshu Bhardwaj, Walmart SVP of Strategy and Tech Commercialization, told The Current.
Initial capabilities offered by Walmart are being made available through a partnership with Adobe Commerce. Businesses can use Walmart’s cloud-based services to provide pickup and delivery for customers. Walmart said this allows businesses to reach new customers on its third-party seller Marketplace. It can also power two-day shipping nationwide through Walmart Fulfillment Services, which allows sellers to tap the company’s logistics and supply chain capabilities. Going forward, the company will seek to power new ventures.
“New ventures are always being considered as we continue to identify challenges that retailers face. If we have a solution that allows retailers to leverage Walmart’s years of operations experience, we’ll consider making it available so that they can go back to focusing on what matters most – their customers and products,” Bhardwaj said. “With Walmart Commerce Technologies, we are enabling retailers to leverage our technologies from checkout experiences to efficient store fulfillment allowing retailers to quickly serve their customers where, when and how they shop.”
As it offers these capabilities, Walmart is growing a base of tech talent. Walmart Commerce Technologies is part of the company’s fast-growing technology organization, called Walmart Global Tech, which now has 20,000 employees. Recently, the company announced plans to hire 5,000 new employees across Walmart Global Tech this year, and open new tech hubs in Atlanta and Toronto. The immediate openings are for a variety of roles.
“This year, we’re focused on hiring cybersecurity professionals, architects, developers, software engineers, data scientists, data engineers, technical program managers and product managers,” Bhardwaj said. “Beyond the technical competencies set for each role, there are four basic beliefs tied to Walmart's values: Service the customer, respect the individual, strive for excellence and act with integrity. We are looking for authentic, respectful, high-achieving workers who value service leadership.”
The moves come as Walmart continues to grow its ecommerce business, with digital sales increasing 90% over the two years of the pandemic. While its large stores helped the company become ubiquitous in American communities, these locations are now seen as both a place for in-person shopping, as well as fulfillment centers and pickup points for online orders. On the company’s recent earnings call to recap 2021, leaders pointed out that many associates have a device in their hand at all working hours, and heralded the growth of the company’s digital advertising business. Offering technology services is a way for Walmart to extend this expansion to its work with brands.
“We've got a business that's becoming increasingly digital,” CEO Doug McMillon said on the call.
Trending in Retail Channels
The partnership brings together subscriptions and shoppable content.
Roku and DoorDash are teaming up to connect TV and food delivery in one experience.
The news: Roku and DoorDash announced a new partnership that will allow people to order food delivery from a shoppable ad on their TV. Along with the capabilities being put in place by the tech platforms, Wendy’s is also adding shoppable content that will provide a discount on ordering at launch.
How does it work? For Roku account holders, there are three parts to the partnership:
DashPass: DoorDash is providing a complementary six-month DoorDash subscription. Called DashPass, this provides $0 delivery fees on orders from restaurants, grocery and retail stores on DoorDash’s marketplace.
Shoppable ads: Roku viewers will be able to click from their remote to order straight from ads on Roku via offers provided through DoorDash. For the first year, DoorDash will be the exclusive ad solution provider for restaurants on its marketplace to buy shoppable ads on Roku. With this, restaurant advertisers will also be able to work with DoorDash to attribute, target and measure TV streaming ads.
Wendy’s: The companies said Wendy’s also upped its digital capabilities as part of this partnership. The chain will make offers available through the shoppable ads. At launch, it will provide $5 off any Wendy’s purchase of $15 or more.
Key quote from Rob Edell, GM and head of consumer engagement at DoorDash: “While this offer unlocks DashPass benefits and perks for Roku users everywhere, it also provides our merchant partners with an opportunity to promote DoorDash offers through TV streaming. Consumers can conveniently and affordably get the best of their neighborhood delivered to their door, while brands can reach diners at the right time and drive instant conversion from the comfort of the living room.”
What it shows about commerce
The partnership is a sign that several different strategies being employed in digital media and commerce are converging:
Streaming and delivery: Watching TV and ordering food is a common behavior. In fact, Roku research indicates that one in three users order takeout or food delivery weekly. The partnership shows how there is room for the platforms that provide each of these distinct services to work together. It's a reminder not just to monitor how customers use your product, but what other products and services they use with it.
Shoppable ads and subscriptions: As digital commerce grows, there’s interest in reducing the steps between when a user thinks about making a purchase, and when they actually click “Buy.” This partnership does that in a couple of ways. With shoppable ads, Roku viewers can order directly from their TV, and even within the show they are watching. Switching devices may be a barrier, however small, to a sale. On DoorDash’s side, putting a subscription in place means users don’t have to think about logging in or consider delivery fees. This shows how introducing more interactive capabilities to streaming can open up new opportunities for commerce. Roku data shows that 36% of its users are interested in receiving interactive offers, such as a scannable QR code or text message. Such capabilities allow users to take action without switching screens.
Retail media and CTV: On the advertising side, the partnership is connecting DoorDash’s ad network with Roku’s content capabilities. DoorDash operates as a marketplace, while Roku serves ads during streaming content. Both have powerful customer data. DoorDash has purchase-level, or first-party, data. Roku has data on millions of customers, and the ability to reach them while they are doing the common activity of watching TV. The platforms also both have the ability to target users and measurement capabilities that can make this whole system even more powerful. While this partnership sets out one way the companies will work together immediately, it’s a safe bet that the partners will find other areas of mutual benefit to explore.
Further reading: It’s just the latest move by Roku to bring shoppable content to the platform. Last year, the streamer partnered with Walmart to pilot direct ordering straight from shoppable ads.
Is Amazon next? Break down the individual parts of this partnership: Subscription, delivery network, marketplace, streaming platform, advertising capabilities. Amazon owns each of these, and it even has a restaurant delivery partnership with Grubhub. Will it put these parts to work in a similar way? The better question may be, how long until it does so?