Walmart to Launch New Loyalty Program

Walmart is planning to launch a paid membership program called Walmart+. This program will leverage its huge store network to offer perks that Amazon cannot duplicate.

While specific details haven’t been released, the program is expected to rebrand Walmart’s existing Delivery Unlimited service, which charges a monthly fee for unlimited, same-day delivery of groceries.

Walmart+ may build on the service by including a feature that allows customers to use text messaging to place orders. In the long-term, the program may include discounts on prescription drugs and fuel, as well as the ability to check out without waiting in line.

This program is another marker in the battle between Walmart and Amazon for ecommerce market share. A mass amount of Amazon’s success has been attributed to Prime, so if Walmart wants to capture more of Amazon’s almost 40% of market share, releasing their own program may be overdue.

Between 2019 and 2020, Walmart overtook eBay in ecommerce sales by growing market share by about 7%. Other notable changes include Target appearing at #8 on the list with 1.2% of sales and Qurate Retail Group (parent company for QVC, Home Shopping Network, and Zulily) completely dropping off the list.

Home Depot Invests in Ecommerce and Fulfillment

Image result for walmart ecommerce market share 2019Image result for walmart ecommerce market share 2020As we can see in these charts from eMarketer, Home Depot has ranked fifth in ecommerce sales share for the past two years with 1.7% market share.

With such fierce competition, maintaining this position is an impressive feat.

It seems that this year, Home Depot looking to fight harder for more market share.

And they’re doing so by creating a more seamless shopping experience between customers’ online and in-store experiences.

Here are some examples of ways they are doing this:

  • Rolling out digital appliance labels to allow shoppers to access online reviews while shopping in stores
  • Allow online orders to be delivered within two days or be picked up at the nearest store
  • Narrowing package delivery times to 2-4 hour windows by bolstering their search and communication functions
  • Implementing an app for workers to reduce out-of-stocks by 24%

In their Q4 2019 fiscal report, Home Depot announced that their online sales grew by 20.8% and that more than 50% of online orders were picked up in store.

Similar to Walmart, they are leveraging their retail stores and networks to support online sales. This is an advantage that Amazon is trying to copy by acquiring physical locations, but they are nowhere close to replicating the retail network that both Walmart and Home Depot have.

Moving forward, Home Depot plans to continue investing in their website focusing specifically on search functionality, category presentation, product content, and enhanced fulfillment options.

Proposed Bill May Hold Marketplaces Liable for Counterfeit Goods

Earlier this week, a bipartisan group of Congress members introduced the Shop Safe Act that propose a plan to combat counterfeit goods being sold online – which is especially important in a time when counterfeiters feel encouraged by coronavirus to sell more unverified products.

The bill is directly targeting products that avoid undergoing safety testing and violate health and safety laws. These goods are even more dangerous because they’re able to draw in consumers by offering lower prices.

The bill calls for the following requirements:

  • Verifying with reliable identification who the seller is, the seller’s place of business, and the seller’s contact information.
  • Verification from the third-party seller confirming the authenticity of goods to the marketplace.
  • Proof the marketplace took reasonable steps to prevent any alleged infringement from a third-party seller.

This is a big ask for marketplaces like Amazon, eBay, and Walmart.

Amazon, for example, has almost 600 million SKUs on their site, with nearly half of those estimated to be from marketplace sellers. Amazon is able to have seemingly unlimited options for shoppers by having little to no barriers to entry.

Instilling an extensive vetting process will challenge that.

With 37% of online shoppers saying counterfeit products are a top concern, marketplaces should start preparing for this probable change.

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