Executive Briefings

Wal-Mart CFO Discusses Tech That's Changing How the Retailer Operates

Wal-Mart EVP and CFO Brett Biggs says the company has been investing in both front-facing and back-end technology to help Wal-Mart work differently.

"As we look at leveraging expenses, that kind of technology is really important for what we do going forward, and you’ve seen us make decisions," Biggs said at the dbAccess Global Consumer Conference in Paris this month.

For example, the mega retailer has been laying the foundation for its e-commerce and putting money into the systems that run it. Wal-Mart put in five fulfillment centers, which allows for things like two-day shipping and Wal-Mart's dramatic increase of the marketplace on its website.

"So back about a year ago, we had around 10 million items online," Biggs said. "Now, we have over 50 million items online. Now, 50 million still not as much as some of our competitors would have. The difference between 10 million and 50 million is a big difference. Over time, I think, we’ll figure out what the right number of skews would be online."

Biggs also noted that the company has been able to accelerate its pace thanks to the team that Jet's Marc Lore has brought with him from the acquisition, along with the walmart.com team. The company has been working on things like its pickup discount, where Wal-Mart gives shoppers a discount to pick up items in stores that were ordered online. According to Biggs, it works for the company because the most efficient way for Wal-Mart to get a good delivered is to the store by sending full truckloads palletized.

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"As we look at leveraging expenses, that kind of technology is really important for what we do going forward, and you’ve seen us make decisions," Biggs said at the dbAccess Global Consumer Conference in Paris this month.

For example, the mega retailer has been laying the foundation for its e-commerce and putting money into the systems that run it. Wal-Mart put in five fulfillment centers, which allows for things like two-day shipping and Wal-Mart's dramatic increase of the marketplace on its website.

"So back about a year ago, we had around 10 million items online," Biggs said. "Now, we have over 50 million items online. Now, 50 million still not as much as some of our competitors would have. The difference between 10 million and 50 million is a big difference. Over time, I think, we’ll figure out what the right number of skews would be online."

Biggs also noted that the company has been able to accelerate its pace thanks to the team that Jet's Marc Lore has brought with him from the acquisition, along with the walmart.com team. The company has been working on things like its pickup discount, where Wal-Mart gives shoppers a discount to pick up items in stores that were ordered online. According to Biggs, it works for the company because the most efficient way for Wal-Mart to get a good delivered is to the store by sending full truckloads palletized.

Read Full Article