BENTONVILLE, ARK. — Of all the consumer changes and habits over the past 12 months, online grocery is a trend that is likely to continue, said M. Brett Biggs, executive vice president and chief financial officer of Walmart, Inc.
In a June 15 presentation as part of the virtual Evercore ISI Consumer and Retail Summit, Mr. Biggs explained to participants the impact that the acceleration of e-commerce has had during the pandemic. While many consumers already had begun to shift spending to the e-commerce channel prior to the pandemic they have become even more comfortable shopping online over the past year, he said.
“I think online grocery is a trend that will continue,” Mr. Biggs said. “I think people learned to love that online grocery service. And we’re right in the perfect place to serve that customer.
“So again, the good thing or the reason I feel so positive is kind of whatever sticks out of the pandemic from a customer standpoint, there’s not a place we don’t — not only don’t have an answer, we thrive, and that’s why I feel so confident.”
The gap between Walmart and some of its online competitors such as Amazon may be narrowing on the e-commerce side, but Mr. Biggs said Walmart remains confident in its ability to differentiate.
“Look, there’s nothing that over time a competitor can’t go do; they can,” he said. “So I’m not sure that they are in places we have advantages — that’s for certain. I think the customer interactions, the personal interactions with customers, I think that the culture of the company and how we’re able to personally interact with customers, that’s really different.
“Online grocery helps with that. Grocery delivery helps with that. And grocery being something that people interact with every day, right, you see it every day. We do have an advantage there, and we want to continue to grow that advantage, but it is a big advantage for us. Look, we have great competitors in the grocery space. And they’ll continue to get more aggressive. I have no doubt. But I feel so will we.”