While the investment plan is aggressive, Walmart said the company’s “strong financial position makes it the right time to accelerate investments in key areas,” enabling it to “build a business model that will define the next generation of retail.”
“The pandemic has certainly challenged big-box retailers and distributors this past year, but many brands have found ways to rise above today’s challenges by capitalizing on the growth of e-commerce,” says Pete Zimmerman, North American software sales manager, VAI, ERP software solutions. “Walmart was no exception, reporting growth in Q4 2020 boosted by online holiday sales. However, it’s crucial to note the tech-enabled and automated fulfillment network Walmart had been building prior to the pandemic, making fast delivery and curbside pickup during the pandemic possible.”
Looking ahead, Walmart’s targeted investments to accelerate growth also include raising wages for an additional 425,000 frontline associates who are driving its customer experience.
“With their decisions to take care of their workforce by raising wages, distributing bonuses, and keeping their stores clean [Walmart is] making moves to position their long-term relationships with their customers and their place in their community,” says Gregory Ng, CEO of experimentation-driven CX optimization firm Brooks Bell. “The consumer mindset has shifted overall from lowest price to greatest trust. Trust in quality, trust in reliable delivery times, and trust in safe shopping experiences. Walmart understands this and is making investments that will pay off long past this quarter and next."
Walmart president and CEO Doug McMillon said it best: “Change in retail accelerated in 2020. The capabilities we’ve built in previous years put us ahead, and we’re going to stay ahead.”