Business

How Walmart is Transforming to Better Serve Customers

Today, we welcomed members of the investment community to our home office to share how we’re doing as a company and how we’ll serve our customers in the future.

We enjoyed giving them an update because our associates are making so much progress. This is an exciting time to be part of Walmart.

In the U.S., our investments in people, stores and technology are helping us grow – as we reported last quarter, comp sales are up, and more customers are shopping with us. In Walmart International, we delivered positive comps in ten out of our 11 markets in the first half of the year. Membership income is growing at Sam’s Club. And, in addition to more than doubling the number of items available on Walmart.com, we recently welcomed Marc Lore and the Jet.com team to our Walmart family.

Our goal is to be the best place for our customers to shop – whether they choose to do it in stores, online, on mobile devices, or a combination of these, it will be fast and easy.

How will we do that?

It starts with making every day easier for busy families. Saving them money makes every day easier and now, more than ever, they need us to save them not only money but time. We’ll do that in stores and we’ll do that with e-commerce. We will continue to invest in technologies and services that make shopping even easier, like Scan and Go at Sam’s Club, Walmart Pay and more.

We are a company that must become more of an e-commerce and technology company. There’s no doubt that e-commerce is going to become a much more important part of our business. So as we run stronger stores and build a bigger e-commerce business, we will continue to link them together in exciting ways. Today, more of our customers are shopping with us in stores and online or using our apps. Our ongoing investments in online grocery, Walmart.com and Samsclub.com as well as new investments in Jet.com are just a few examples of how we will evolve to offer customers the flexibility and convenience to shop when, where and how they want.

The distinctions made today between stores, apps, pickup, delivery and websites are blurring into the background for customers. For them, it’s all Walmart, and we will continue to offer new solutions that create a seamless shopping experience.

As retail changes, and Walmart changes with it, we can drive strong, efficient growth by continuing to operate with discipline.

Our business model of everyday low costs fuels the everyday low prices our customers expect. That’s not changing. So we will be thoughtful about expense control and be more productive across the business. We’ll win the basket business in stores and in e-commerce. And one other benefit from taking this approach is that shipping larger baskets is more sustainable from an environmental point of view.

So as we help our customers save money and time, we are also running our business with more sustainable practices and that gives us the opportunity to be our customers’ most trusted retailer.

Our goal is to earn their trust every day and to ensure that all of our customers know why they should feel good about shopping at Walmart. We do that by offering products that make a difference in communities. We carry products that support American jobs and sell produce sourced from local farms. We share profits with our associates – like the performance bonuses 99% of our stores earned last quarter-- and invest in their careers.

Overall, I’m encouraged by our progress. Our team has momentum, we’re delivering results and positioning Walmart to win in the future.

But to earn both the trust and business of busy families, it will take all of us working together to create a seamless, more sustainable shopping experience that no one else can match. We know where we’re headed and we’re excited about making life easier for them.

Editor's Note: You can find a complete replay and supporting materials from our 2016 Investment Community Meeting here.

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Business

Walmart's Secret Advantage to Serving You This Holiday Season

The holiday season is a busy time of year at Walmart.

From October through December, hundreds of millions of Americans will visit more than 5,000 Walmart locations to shop for gifts, grab last-minute items for holiday meals and take advantage of special deals that come but once a year.

Now, more than ever, Walmart and its associates will be ready for them.

Based on the success of a similar effort in 2016, the company announced it will be offering extra hours available this time of year to our current associates, rather than hiring thousands of seasonal workers.

“Our associates make the holidays come to life in our stores, and we are thankful for everything they do,” said Judith McKenna, Chief Operating Officer. “As we head into our busiest time of the year, we know associates are ready to deliver for our customers and help give them a memorable and affordable Christmas.”

These extra hours will help staff traditional roles like cashier and stocker, as well as newly created, technology-empowered positions in Walmart’s growing online pickup department.

Here are three big reasons why the company is investing in its people for Holiday 2017:

  1. The way customers shop is rapidly changing. Walmart expects new services like Online Grocery Pickup to take off with the holiday cooking crowd, making the company’s specially trained personal shoppers an even more indispensable part of the team.
  2. The company’s Holiday Helpers program was a huge success last year, and in 2017 Walmart is increasing the number of Helpers across its fleet of stores. These associates are dedicated to helping customers get through stores faster by finding the shortest checkout line and opening registers as needed. They’ll even run to grab items customers may have forgotten, so they don’t lose their place.
  3. Walmart has increased its focus on service through new training, tools and technology. Thousands of associates have completed the company’s Pathways and Academy programs, which prepares them to more effectively serve customers during this busy season.

“The holidays are a special time of year for our customers and associates,” McKenna said. “This is what working in retail is all about, and we know our people have the passion to do even more this year.”

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Business

Found: The Story Behind Our New Natural Beauty Routine

If you’ve ever tried shopping for naturally-inspired beauty products, you know the struggle.

They can be expensive. They’re sometimes not as effective. Makeup colors can be limited, and guess what? That means matching skin tones is a challenge.

As a buyer for cosmetics at Walmart, I’d begun noticing an industry trend, both from our customers’ feedback and focus groups: People care more than ever about the ingredients in the products they’re using. But this was also personal. I’m passionate about using natural ingredients in my home, and I was having trouble finding beauty products that looked good, felt good, and wouldn’t break the bank.

That was last year. Little did I know that a solution was soon to be found.

My team started looking into what it would take to develop naturally-inspired skincare and cosmetics, and that’s when we discovered Hatchbeauty, a company specializing in everything from the development to the marketing of innovative beauty products. They were eager to marry their beauty expertise with our retail expertise to create something truly unique and different – Found, a new line of naturally-inspired beauty products exclusive to Walmart.

Every item within Found highlights a “miracle” ingredient used in ancient beauty rituals. For instance, one of my favorite products, the illuminating drops, uses passionfruit oil to lock in moisture and nourish your skin. We’ve brought these ingredients to life to give customers an alternative featuring natural ingredients that can deliver the same results as traditional, high-end beauty products.

Helping develop Found has been one of the most meaningful achievements in my career, because it has been an intersection where my personal passion and my professional purpose collide. Walmart is committed to selling more products that benefit people and the planet. Found’s 130-product line is never tested on animals, and there’s even a Not Found list featuring what you won’t find in the products, like parabens and phthalates. Every product is 90-99% natural, and the percent of natural ingredients is front and center on every product.

Working with Tracy Holland, founder and CEO, Diana Madrid, COO, and Ben Bennet CCO, was a phenomenal experience, but I was impressed with the engagement from everyone on their team. From the owners to the brand managers to the chemists and product developers, everyone encouraged diversity of thought and inclusion, which made it possible for the customer to be the focus of our development process. I can’t count the number of times we changed direction on formulas, shade range or packaging based on customer feedback. For instance, we received customer feedback that skincare can be a confusing category to shop, so we broke down every item into one of three steps: cleanse, treat and hydrate. Found demystifies the process and helps customers focus on key items to build their regimens.

When I gave my first presentation to our leadership team, I asked them how my makeup looked, and they couldn’t believe everything I was wearing was from our naturally-inspired line. It’s one thing to develop these products – but it’s another thing entirely to actually wear the products and love them! Found has truly been a chance for me to help our customers save money and live better.

You can find Found products at select Walmart locations, Walmart.com and coming soon to Jet.com.

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Business

One Year Ago, We Welcomed Jet … and the Winners are Our Customers

When the Jet.com deal closed one year ago, many people asked, “Why Jet.com?”

At the time, we’d strengthened our e-commerce capabilities and were looking for the right partner to accelerate our efforts. So while it was a logical question to ask, the answer was really quite simple: Jet was the right partner at the right time. Both Walmart and Jet have a deep commitment to serving customers, and saving them money and time. By coming together, we could do all these things, better.

That’s exactly what we’re doing. In August, we partnered with Google for voice shopping. Earlier in the year, we launched Easy Reorder, a feature in our mobile app that helps customers easily access a list of items they purchase most frequently. We also launched free two-day shipping on millions of items – without a membership fee. And we’ve steadily expanded our merchandise assortment. This time last year, we had just reached 15 million items available on Walmart.com and today that number is 67 million items and rising.

We’ve welcomed other innovative online retailers to the Walmart family, including Bonobos, Hayneedle, Modcloth, Moosejaw and Shoes.com. Each of these acquisitions has helped strengthen our expertise in key product categories, provide an expanded assortment and a way to reach new customers. We’re able to provide these new companies the benefit of Walmart’s scale to lower their operating costs, which allows each to invest in the customer experience and grow the business.

We’re also seeing the power of our stores and e-commerce coming together to serve customers. We’re removing friction from our shopping experience – focused on making it fast, easy and fun for customers. Walmart customers now receive a discount for store pickup rather than home delivery, which we can offer by using our vast supply chain and store network to create efficiencies. With stores located within 10 miles of nearly 90 percent of the U.S. population, it’s convenient for many of our customers, and saves them money.

In addition to 1,000 grocery pickup locations in the U.S., we’re testing associate delivery of Walmart.com orders in a few stores. By the end of the year, we’ll have approximately 100 automated pickup towers in stores across the country, where customers can pick up their orders within a matter of minutes. And we’re excited about the growth we’re seeing across our e-commerce portfolio. One important metric, Gross Merchandise Value, grew 69 percent in the first quarter this year, and was just as robust the next quarter at 67 percent. That’s proof customers are responding.

Marc Lore, who founded Jet, and now leads our U.S. e-commerce efforts, has proven to be the digital embodiment of Walmart. He has a fanatical focus on serving customers and creating the next generation of everyday low prices. It’s energizing how he and Greg Foran, CEO of Walmart U.S., and their teams continue to partner closely to delight customers in new ways across our apps, sites and stores.

I’m excited about how far we’ve come together, and even more excited about what’s ahead. Here’s to another great year of finding more ways to save our customers time and money, and delivering an easy and enjoyable shopping experience.

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Business

An Expanded Way to Pay for Online Grocery Pickup

Who doesn’t want to save time? Find an easier way to check things off their to-do lists?

Let’s say there is a solution out there … but it’s available only to some people, not all of them. And it’s dictated by the way you pay. We say: not anymore.

You’ve told us you love Online Grocery Pickup – it’s putting you in charge of your schedule and how you shop. We are so excited that it’s saving you time and money.

We think this is a service that should be available to everyone. That’s why we’re introducing an option that allows customers using EBT benefits to use Online Grocery Pickup and pay when they pick up their groceries.

Right now, we’re offering this expanded way to pay in one store in the Houston area and four more around Boise. And we’ll be bringing it to more and more markets through the holiday season and beyond.

Access and convenience have long been a part of who we are. Our company was founded on the principle of bringing affordable goods to people, and since opening that first Walmart store more than 50 years ago, we’ve been relentless in reimagining the way people shop.

Online grocery pickup service is one of the latest ways we’re doing that, and we’re excited to continually see comments from our customers like these:

Everyone deserves this kind of satisfaction. Convenience shouldn’t be dictated by the way you pay. Your to-do list continues to grow, so ours does too. We’re committed to bringing you options that let you take charge of your time.

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