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How Walmart adapted to meet a spike in COVID-related online demand in the US

Walmart’s massive network of stores in the US helped it scale e-commerce operations as demand for certain goods spiked amid the COVID-19 pandemic. The company said its US e-commerce sales shot up 74% over last year. To meet the spike in demand, it quickly converted 2,500 of its stores into fulfilment centres. The company also took other strategic steps including combining its online apps, launching new delivery options, and more importantly, by shutting down Jet.com, which it had acquired for over $3 billion in 2016. Walmart possibly decided to shutdown Jet because it lost about $2 billion on its online e-commerce operations last year, according to the Wall Street Journal. Walmart CEO Doug McMillon, during a call with investors, said since mid-March, when social-distancing rules went into effect in the US, the company has seen four times as many new customers as normal trying delivery or pickup of online orders; and many of them are becoming repeat shoppers. The company said store pickup and delivery spiked in March and remained elevated in April with sales growth of nearly 300% at peak. Growth in marketplace outpaced the overall business even as first-party sales were strong. Key steps Walmart took to meet surge in online demand “Customers are gravitating towards store pickup and delivery, driving record demand for these services leading to triple-digit growth in U.S. e-commerce sales during peak periods,” CFO Brett Biggs said, and added that the strategy of offering users multiple channels to order from has proven to be important. To…

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