In an interesting twist, Walmart is offering access to services such as ecommerce order pickup and delivery to smaller retailers via a subscription program through partnering with Adobe, expanding revenue by selling its services a la Amazon’s cloud computing juggernaut.
Through the partnership, Walmart’s marketplace, online and store fulfillment and pickup technologies will be integrated with Adobe Commerce’s SaaS platform, enabling them to turn on two-day shipping, for example. Also, merchants can quickly set themselves up on the marketplace and add products with a few clicks.
“We’ve built new capabilities to serve the evolving needs of our own customers, and we have a unique opportunity to use our experience to help other businesses do the same,” said John Furner, CEO of Walmart U.S., in a release. “Commercializing our technologies and capabilities helps us sustainably reinvest back into our customer value proposition.”
Walmart spokesperson Megan Schussler said the initiative is part of Walmart’s enterprise strategy, and ties back to Walmart CEO Doug McMillon’s concept of a company flywheel, building new sources of revenue that can be reinvested into the company and its customer value proposition.
She added the capabilities we be available “in the coming months” on the Adobe Commerce platform.
“We’re looking at the digital transformation we’ve been on,” Schussler said. “This doesn’t have an endpoint but is evolving. As customer needs and shop behaviors change, we’ve built new capabilities to serve them in innovative ways, such as grocery pickup and delivery, mobile pickup, scan and go and express delivery. These can all benefit other retailers navigating and accelerating their own digital transformation.”
She also said through partnering with Adobe, Walmart can add their merchant customers as sellers on its marketplace, giving them tools to succeed while also providing greater variety and selection for end customers shopping there.
Asked about how this helps Walmart better compete with Amazon, Schussler said it’s about “leveraging our unique strengths” to help businesses, especially SMBs, who have had to pivot quickly and are tasked with meeting rising customer demand and expectations.
“Yes, it generates a revenue stream for Walmart, which ties back to the flywheel concept,” she said. “We’re focused on what it means for our strategy, creating benefits, driving revenue and more assortment, as well as what it means for the industry.”
Jason Goldberg, chief commerce strategy officer at agency Publicis, said the partnership represented a “funny new paradigm” where Walmart is selling its technology instead of acquiring it from a provider like Adobe.
“Sellers on Amazon today don’t want their eggs in one basket, so many are also on Walmart’s marketplace, many of whom used to be on eBay,” Goldberg said. “With this agreement, merchants on Magento or the Adobe cloud can send product data natively to Walmart.com.”
Part of the interesting twist in this partnership is that Walmart, like many other retailers and brands, has invested heavily as it morphs into a technology company that also sells products.
“Walmart probably has more engineers than Adobe cloud does,” Goldberg said. “They’re absolutely a legit tech company.”
Schussler said Walmart has 17,000 associates on its tech team, including software and machine learning engineers and data scientists. This is up from 10,000 last year, with many working in Silicon Valley and others based at corporate headquarters in Bentonville, AR as well as Jet.com’s former offices in Hoboken, NJ, CNBC reported.