Walmart uses brutal self-assessment in omnichannel turnaround strategy
They say the first step towards recovery is admitting you have a problem, and according to Walmart, they’ve had a big one. “We fail our customers today,” reads the first bullet in a slide from their planning deck for an internal project codenamed Project Glass, which has been in development since last March.
Those customers, Walmart acknowledges, have been flocking to Amazon.com. To reclaim customers they’re losing, the company aims to create a “simple, easy-to-use app and website [to] give customers the ability to search, shop, and check out with any item no matter where it lives in the Walmart ecosystem,” said a Walmart spokesperson, according to Insider.
The new experience promises fast and free delivery, unattended delivery options, elimination of basket minimums (assumed to meet free shipping requirements), single-click orders and live-tracking order status through delivery. If that sounds like table stakes for retail omnichannel experiences, that’s because it is. Many of these features have been available and popularized on Amazon for quite some time.
But what’s most refreshing, as I covered in a post this week, is how Walmart’s brutal self-own poises them to battle Amazon. In their own words, Walmart details their genuine market failings rather than using a SWOT analysis. The deck, first shared by Insider, contains these nuggets:
“We turn away customers who want to shop with us.”
“We have a lot of friction in our experience.”
“We do not have a relationship with our customers.”
That may have been painful for executives to swallow, but it was the necessary provocation to improve customer experience and sales. Specifically, Walmart’s e-commerce business is not yet profitable, and sales growth is expected to slow this year. Walmart hopes to turn that around with Project Glass.
Going beyond the basics, Walmart recognizes the need for artificial intelligence (AI) to deliver additional value to customers. Project Glass notes the need for personalized search, predictive reorders for maintenance items, proactive cart reminders and customized basket building with a personalized user front-end (UX).
Today, Project Glass is in its final phase and exists in beta, being used by thousands of employees while it readies for launch. Whether Project Glass will help pivot customers away from Amazon remains to be seen. But this much is true: every corporate pitch deck should begin with brutal honesty about genuine market failings to pave the way for positive disruption.
- Walmart is betting on a secret initiative called ‘Project Glass’ in the war against Amazon. See the full presentation outlining its plan. – Insider
- “We Fail Our Customers Today,” Walmart Says – Medium
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: Should more retailers follow Walmart’s brutal self-assessment strategy? Do you think Walmart’s Project Glass will be successful in wooing customers back from Amazon, and why?