Chris Bolte, VP of Walmart Labs, let us know exactly why brick-and-mortar retail stores aren’t yet a thing of the past here at Business Insider’s Social Commerce Summit.
It boils down to one thing. When people want to buy something, it doesn’t matter how retailers get it to them — they just want to be able to find it, and get it fast.
“Customers are really not looking for different experience by channel,” says Bolte. “They’re more like, we want, what we want, when we want it.”
That’s how Walmart can have more than 9,000 stores and continue to grow.
“We’re seeing more and more customers coming through these stores every day,” says Bolte. “Broadly, if you look at the Walmart online business compared to offline, certainly the offline is much, much larger.”
But, says Bolte, the offline is growing much faster.
If customers could get what they want more reliably, cheaper and faster all the time on one of the channels, it would certainly win.
For now, there’s room in the world for both channels, because there are still significant benefits provided by each. As long as people can get what they want, when they want it, they’ll be happy, and Walmart’s stores will still be there along with Walmart.com.
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