Wal-Mart Sees 'Second-Mover Advantage' in E-Commerce

By Laura Stevens Features Dow Jones Newswires

LAGUNA BEACH, Calif. -- Wal-Mart Stores Inc. U.S. e-commerce chief Marc Lore said the online retail division is still in growth mode, the fruits of which will start paying off over the next two years and help it better compete with Amazon.com Inc.

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"E-commerce is a scale game," Mr. Lore said in an interview at The Wall Street Journal's WSJ D.Live technology conference on Tuesday. "We're looking at a lot of different things right now, everything, in every sector."

Wal-Mart has been on an acquisition spree in the past year since it acquired Mr. Lore's startup Jet.com for $3.3 billion and put Mr. Lore in charge of its U.S. e-commerce business. Wal-Mart has snapped up a string of trendy e-commerce startups, including clothing sites Bonobos and ModCloth, as it tries to gain a foothold with consumers who have previously shied away from shopping on its own website.

Wal-Mart trails rival Amazon in online market share, but Mr. Lore said Wal-Mart's built-in network of thousands of stores can serve as hubs for online orders and distribution. Mr. Lore said Wal-Mart has a "second-mover advantage."

The Bentonville, Ark.-based retailer is working on a new design for its e-commerce site and better deliveries so it can get goods to more consumers in less than two hours or overnight -- a cornerstone of Amazon's pitch.

Wal-Mart has said it is expanding its grocery delivery pilot with Uber Technologies Inc. and even having store workers deliver some orders in a test.

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In January, the company said it was scrapping a $50 charge for a two-day, no-cost shipping membership program -- similar to Amazon Prime -- in favor of free shipping on any order over $35.

Amazon quickly moved to match, then lowered its minimum to $25.

Write to Laura Stevens at laura.stevens@wsj.com

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

October 17, 2017 13:25 ET (17:25 GMT)