Who wins…the consumer

This is a head-to-head battle where we, the customer, are the real winners. Speed, personalization, satisfaction, ratings/reviews, next day delivery are all enhanced by the power of artificial intelligence (ai) and the investments currently being made by Walmart and Amazon.

Also, keep an eye on Rakuten and Alibaba. If they are able to gain a foothold in the U.S. that would only further ratchet up the competition.


Walmart’ battle with Amazon has new fronts: Digital ads and A.I.

Doug McMillon – http://linkedin.com/in/dougmcmillon

  • “CEO Doug McMillon says the company is on track to become more of a “digital enterprise.”
  • It surpassed Apple in 2018 to become the third-largest online retailer in the country, trailing only Amazon and eBay, according to eMarketer.
  • This week, the company started rolling out next-day delivery for online orders in three markets in the U.S., with plans to reach 75% of the country before the year is over.”

Walmart Acquisitions

  • “In February, it bought Aspectiva, a start-up that looks at a customer’s browsing behavior and helps make product recommendations
  • We know it bought Jet.com for $3.3 billion in 2017.
  • Walmart’s acquisition of plus-size fashion brand Eloquii last fall was reported to be $100 million.
  • A person familiar had told CNBC that Walmart’s acquisition of Art.com had cost about the same.”
  • https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.cnbc.com/amp/2019/05/16/from-advertising-to-ai-walmart-is-doing-a-lot-more-than-retail.html

  • Amazon Sellers More Loyal as Dependence Grows

    • “Amazon last year became the third largest ad platform in the U.S., behind only Google and Facebook.
    • Feedvisor, the “AI-first” optimization and intelligence platform for large sellers and brands on Amazon, today unveiled its State of the Amazon Marketplace 2019 report.
    • The percentage of sellers who plan to expand to Walmart (17 percent) and eBay (10 percent) declined from last year, by 8 and 9 percent respectively.
    • “Amazon has become the go-to shopping destination — nearly three-quarters of consumers go straight to the platform when they are ready to purchase a product,” said Dani Nadel, President and Chief Operating Officer, Feedvisor.
    • With Amazon’s customer-centric business model, an overwhelming majority (95 percent) of sellers said ratings and reviews are important to their business on Amazon.”

    https://www.ecommercebytes.com/2019/05/17/amazon-sellers-more-loyal-as-dependence-grows/

    All Retail eCommerce vs Amazon, Walmart and Alibaba

  • Winning retailers pick their battles:
  • “Amazon spend over $20bn annually on technology. Walmart spend over $5bn in capex on ecommerce and technology. It is just not possible for many to play this game.

    Being at the frontier of speed is not always necessary:

    40% of ecommerce delivery in the UK, which is one of the world’s more developed ecommerce markets, remains slower than next day.

    Go beyond borders to build your tribe:

    eShopWorld’s US President, Cynthia Hollen, added: ‘Excellence in cross-border ecommerce is an essential part of being a high velocity retailer today. Leading retailers know that building their brand and expanding their customer base around the world is the best way to achieve significant and lasting growth in today’s competitive landscape.'”

    https://martechseries.com/predictive-ai/ai-platforms-machine-learning/three-quarters-retailers-believe-model-needs-change-remain-relevant/


    Walmart Rolls Out Futuristic AI-Powered Concept Store, Hoping to Best Amazon Go

    • Thus, the bank of servers that crank out 1.6 terabytes of data per second are not hidden away in some backroom but visible to shoppers, behind a Plexiglas wall.

    https://www.inc.com/minda-zetlin/walmart-irl-futuristic-ai-driven-concept-store-amazon-go.html


    • “Amazon has leveraged its artificial intelligence expertise to be named the most valuable retail brand, according to the BrandZ Top 75 Most Valuable Global Retail Brands Ranking.
    • Companies also ranked in the Top 5 of the report include Alibaba and JD. On the heels of the study, Brandz recently ranked Alibaba as the most valuable brand in China in its report on Chinese brands.”

    https://www.licenseglobal.com/retail-trends/ai-proving-crucial-retail-brand-success


    China’s AI-Led New Retail Environment – Everything You Should Know

    • Jack” Ma, Founder of Alibaba, defined a new concept in retail.
    • The next step is the integration of machine learning, AI, and other advanced tools into this new retail realm.
    • F5 Future Stores are another set of AI-powered smart stores. There are many other players like JD Daojia, FxBox, Take Go, etc. using the latest technologies to change the way retail works.
    • These stores make use of Big Data, retail analytics, artificial intelligence, machine learning, face recognition, barcodes, RFIDs, and mobile payment technologies.”

    https://www.marktechpost.com/2019/05/14/chinas-ai-led-new-retail-environment-everything-you-should-know/

    Nvidia explains how true adoption of AI is making an impact

    • “Hogan notes how, in many respects, eCommerce paved the way for AI. Data collected for things such as advertising helps to train neural networks. In addition, eCommerce firms have consistently aimed to improve and optimise their algorithms for things such as recommendations to attract customers.
      Nvidia has a machine called the DGX-2 which delivers two petaflops of performance. “That is one server that’s equivalent to 800 traditional servers in one box.”
    • Hogan says this has saved Walmart tens of billions of dollars. “This is just one example of how AI is making an impact today not just on the bottom line but also the overall performance of the business”.
    • Accenture is now detecting around 200 million cyber threats per day, claims Hogan. He notes how protecting against such a vast number of evolving threats is simply not possible without AI.”

    https://www.artificialintelligence-news.com/2019/04/26/nvidia-how-adoption-ai-impact/

    Walmart unveils an AI-powered store of the future, now open to the public

    “Walmart this morning unveiled a new “store of the future” and test grounds for emerging technologies, including AI-enabled cameras and interactive displays. The store, a working concept called the Intelligent Retail Lab — or “IRL” for short — operates out of a Walmart Neighborhood Market in Levittown, N.Y.

    • Similar to Amazon Go’s convenience stores, the store has a suite of cameras mounted in the ceiling…the cameras will monitor inventory levels to determine, for example, if staff needs to bring out more meat from the back-room refrigerators to restock the shelves, or if some fresh items have been sitting too long on the shelf and need to be pulled.
    • For store associates, the system allows them to stop constantly walking the store to replace inventory — instead, they’ll know what to bring out from the back room before the doors even open to customers that day.
    • An interactive wall lets customers have fun with AI — it demonstrates how an AI system can estimate body positioning. But really it’s meant to make all this new technology seem less intimidating.
    • the future concepts Walmart will test at IRL after meat inventory levels are using the AI system to ensure that there are shopping carts available at all times and that registers are open and staffed.
    • IRL is a concept designed by Walmart’s tech incubator Store No 8, which runs several ventures to test new ideas in retail. Earlier this year, it launched a startup that offers VR tours to enhance the shopping experience, and in 2017 it began testing a personal shopping service called Code Eight in NYC.”

    https://www.google.com/amp/s/techcrunch.com/2019/04/25/walmart-unveils-an-a-i-powered-store-of-the-future-now-open-to-the-public/amp/

    Walmart vs. Amazon: Who Will Win in 2019?

    Image Credit: RIS News

    “For perspective, it’s worth noting that eMarketer expects Walmart to account for 4.6% of ecommerce sales this year, up from around 4% in 2018. The company expects to come off its 40% growth in 2018 with 35% growth in 2019. This doesn’t compare with Amazon’s strong double digit growth rate especially off its 50% share. At the same time, Amazon’s share of physical retail sales is next to nil and that’s where Walmart generates most of its business.

    Both companies have a ton of data on their users. But while Amazon has transformed that into tech-enabled market intelligence, Walmart is a little behind in that race (although it’s already testing its own AI, visual search techniques, AR capabilities and the like). Additionally, Walmart has a much more comprehensive physical presence, so it is far better able to cater to popular formats with greater near-term relevance like order online and pick up at store.

    So the race is far from over and both companies look about evenly poised to capture a growing share of the market mostly at the cost of smaller players, or those with limited resources to really take technology support to all it can be, i.e. artificial intelligence, robotics, AR, et al.”

    https://www.google.com/amp/s/finance.yahoo.com/amphtml/news/walmart-vs-amazon-win-2019-223410605.html