Watch Out Amazon! Here Comes Walmart!
Walmart Stores Inc. announced Wednesday that it is changing its legal name to Walmart Inc. effective February 1, 2018, as it looks to make its presence felt on the e-commerce stage rather than largely being looked upon as a brick-and-mortar retailer.
“Our customers know us as Walmart and today they shop with us not only in our stores but online and with our app as well,” Walmart’s President and CEO Doug McMillon said in a statement.
“While our legal name is used in a limited number of places, we felt it was best to have a name that was consistent with the idea that you can shop us however you like as a customer. Looking ahead, we’ll continue to invest in and strengthen our stores around the world and expand our eCommerce capabilities as we help save customers’ time and money. As time goes on, customers will increasingly just think of and see one Walmart.”
The company was incorporated on October 31, 1969, as Wal-Mart Inc., adding the word “Stores” to its name three months later and stuck to it for forty-seven years before it decided it was time to change its all-offline-retail sounding name to one that is universally looked upon by customers as both an online and offline retail company.
With the acquisition of Amazon competitor Jet.com in August last year and MooseJaw in February this year, followed by the takeover of the men’s apparel company Bonobos in June and technology-based delivery company Parcel in September, Walmart has been making quiet inroads into the e-commerce domain determined to have as strong an online profile as it has a physical presence with almost 11,700 stores.
The number of products tripling to 70 million on Walmart.com and the resultant increase in online traffic and sales, registering a 50% increase in its third-quarter US sales, all bear testimony to Walmart’s determined and aggressive approach to e-commerce. Hence, the name change does make a lot of sense.
“Whether it’s in our stores, on our sites, with our apps, by using their voice or whatever comes next, there is just one Walmart as far as our customers are concerned,” wrote Doug McMillon in a Wednesday blog post justifying the move.
“This action is simply harmonizing the corporate name with the customer-facing name on the stores, both physical and digital,” said David Schick who is an analyst at Consumer Edge Research. “This shift has been underway for some time.”
“This is a company looking to communicate a sense of ubiquity,” said Phillip Davis, president of Tungsten Branding, a company naming services firm based in North Carolina. “Walmart is saying it’s no longer going to be defined by bricks-and-mortar.”
According to Davis the name change is a logical move on the part of Walmart keeping in mind its endeavor to change its all-physical image. He said the move was reminiscent of Apple Computers becoming Apple about a decade ago.
“As a company grows, sometimes you need to rethink your approach,” he said. “Where you get into trouble is with product-identified names: Comp USA, Books-A-Million, Linens ‘n Things, RadioShack.”
While it may be focusing hard on expanding its digital image, the retail behemoth has not, by any means, forgotten its physical grassroots, constantly working on the product quality, cosmetic appearance, and perquisites at its more than 4,500 retail outlets across the length and breadth of America.
Schemes like offering discounts to shoppers who are willing to physically pick up their online purchases are already in place. The company is also looking to offer an additional 1,000 locations by next year for customers to pick up their online grocery orders from.
Some reactions to the name change.
— Simone Knaap (@SimoneKnaap) December 6, 2017
— Bowdeya Tweh (@BowKnowsBiz) December 6, 2017