White Paper: Walmart vs. Amazon, and How Retailers and Distributors Can Win

Walmart is going all-in on marketplaces. After years of struggling against Amazon, Walmart purchased the ecommerce marketplace Jet.com in August 2016 for $3.3 billion. Given the unprecedented size of the acquisition and Jet’s relatively small size, there were concerns at the time that Walmart overpaid. Walmart has proven critics wrong. The move has been an undeniable success and Walmart’s online sales have been steadily gaining market share. Today, industry watchers are watching a headlining fight: Walmart v Amazon.

Since 2016, Walmart has doubled down. In May 2018, Walmart announced a $16 billion deal to acquire 77 percent of Flipkart, India’s leading ecommerce marketplace. This acquisition marks a significant milestone in Walmart’s digital transformation. For years, the retail giant failed to check Amazon’s staggering growth, to the point that Amazon now accounts for as much as 43 cents of every dollar spent online in retail. But now, Walmart is emerging as the biggest threat to Amazon’s continued dominance, both at home and abroad.

Faced with an existential threat from a growing modern monopoly, Walmart figured out how to fight back. Other industries would do well to learn from their experience, their early missteps, and their strategic decisions. And these lessons aren’t only applicable to competing with Amazon. Large enterprises in many industries are faced with major threats from other tech giants like Alibaba, Apple, Facebook, Google and Tencent, as well as platform upstarts like Airbnb, Uber and Ant Financial.

Walmart learned the hard way that simply playing defense against these platform businesses is a losing proposition. Traditional enterprises can fight back, and they can win. The key is to understand how. For that, we will look at Walmart’s decade-long journey in platform innovation. We will share how you can learn from its successes, and just as importantly, avoid repeating its mistakes.

In this white paper from Modern Monopolies authors Alex Moazed and Nick Johnson, you’ll learn:

  • Why WalMart’s 2009 internal initiative failed and how to not repeat its missteps
  • In-depth analysis of how WalMart justified, budgeted and integrated Jet.com
  • What were the key steps Amazon took in the late 90’s and early 00’s to become a juggernaut today?

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Filed under: Platform Innovation | Topics:

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