Amazon (AMZN) has had a banner year. Its stock is up 50%, it made its biggest purchase yet with its acquisition of Whole Foods this summer, and it clocked its largest shopping day ever on Cyber Monday, besting its own Prime Day in July.
But Amazon better not count Walmart (WMT) out. Retail Trend Analyst, Charcy Evers says Walmart “has a renewed sense of energy around it.” Its purchase of Jet.com and brands like Modcloth and Bonobos are breathing new life into the company and Evers says hopefully attracting a whole new customer. In fact, Walmart reported online sales were up 60% during the second quarter of the year.
What does Walmart have over Amazon? Stores. Over 6,000 of them. Those stores are key drivers as Walmart looks to cash in on two trends: BOPUS (Buy online pickup in store) and BORIS (Buy online return in store).
Evers says everything in the battle between Amazon and Walmart is “about the last mile” and that picking up in a store is still the most economical way to get an item for many shoppers. This year to encourage shoppers to buy online, but still come to the store, Walmart is offering 24-7 curbside pickup at some of its larger stores.
On price, it’s going to be hard to beat Amazon. Evers notes, “Amazon is always going to have this ability to have a razor thin margin.” That said, Walmart has huge scale when it comes to negotiating with suppliers which gives it more than a fighting chance.
While Amazon does make up close to half of all online sales, it’s still just a blip when it comes to total retail sales in the US. Walmart had total revenue of nearly $500 billion last year and says it expects its U.S. e-commerce business to grow sales by roughly 40 percent in fiscal 2019.