Retail giant Walmart has been trialling a VR system known as ModiFace with a view to assisting in testing makeup in 5 outlets across the United States. In the face of the growth of online retail and the onslaught from Amazon, Walmart is aggressively revamping itself.
According to the chief executive officer of e-commerce software firm Twiggle, Amir Konisberg, Walmart is transforming itself into a technology company. And while Amazon is trying to gain a footprint in physical retail, Walmart is trying to increase its market share in online retail. However it is still too early to tell who will triumph over the other since e-commerce is still only about a third of all retail sales per the latest data from the U.S. Census Bureau.
“Which companies will create continuity of experience, we won’t know for a while. It might be in Walmart’s favor that it’s been around for so long and knows its customers well,” said Konisberg.
As Walmart makes efforts to scale its pilot programs to ensure they extend across the globe it faces major hurdles. In a study conducted among online grocery shoppers in the United States the effectiveness of Walmart’s technology was ranked right behind that of Amazon showing that customers were not as satisfied as they were with the Bentonville, Arkansas-based retailer as they were with its rival. On a scale of one to five, Amazon scored 4.6 points while Walmart scored 4.4 points.
One advantage that Walmart currently enjoys is momentum. Since the retail giant acquired Jet.com at a price of $3 billion and tapped the startup’s chief executive officer Marc Lore as the head of its e-commerce division, online sales at Walmart increased by 60% year-over-year in the results that were announced a month ago.
During a conference call the retail giant also indicated that it expected adjusted earnings to come in at $4.40 per share instead of $4.30 that had been earlier predicted. Walmart also projected that sales would increase by 3% in 2019 with e-commerce sales rising by 40%.
Another way that Walmart is posing a threat to Amazon is the new talent it has managed to get as a result of the acquisitions it has made in the recent past. Last month Walmart acquired a Brooklyn, New York-based courier firm, Parcel. Besides retaining the management team at the delivery company Walmart intends to offer same-day deliveries through the firm in New York City.