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Wal-Mart realizing importance of multichannel retailing

March 21, 2012

Many brick-and-mortar retail stores are investing in multichannel strategies to capture sales from consumers who are increasingly turning to ecommerce to inform their shopping, but it's beginning to look like Wal-Mart was too late.

Many brick-and-mortar retail stores are investing in multichannel strategies to capture sales from consumers who are increasingly turning to ecommerce to inform their shopping, but it’s beginning to look like Wal-Mart was too late.

Over half of Wal-Mart’s budget-minded clientele has turned to Amazon.com for competitive pricing and convenient shopping.

“Amazon has moved from being this unusual niche competitor for Wal-Mart to a force that can reinvent the industry,” said Brian Gildenberg, an analyst for Kantar. “Young people are tech savvy and they’re unemployed, too. The affluent shopper is trading back out of Wal-Mart and Amazon is a bigger part of their life than before.”

Online shopping has given consumers the opportunity to educate themselves about products and pricing. They no longer go into stores uncertain about what a product should cost, according to Ad Age. While many retailers have used this knowledge to develop a high-quality web-based storefront and secure online credit card terminal, Wal-Mart has been lagging. Last year, the company’s online sales accounted for just 2 percent of overall revenue.

However, Wal-Mart hasn’t seceded to its online competition yet. The company has invested $300 million toward its web-based efforts and, in honor of plans to accommodate mobile credit card processing in stores and online, changed its motto to “Anytime, Anywhere.”

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