Walmart has been fighting back against Amazon’s assault on traditional retail by beefing up its digital portfolio.
Leading that assault from the frontlines is Marc Lore, head of e-commerce for Walmart and former CEO of Jet.com, under whose leadership the retail giant has snapped up e-commerce startups across footwear and men’s fashion, including Bonobos, Moosejaw, ShoeBuy and ModCloth.
It is no secret that Lore, who worked at Amazon after his company Quidsi was acquired by the company in 2011, did not particularly like his time there. But he feels differently about working for Walmart.
“People don’t believe me when I say this, but it feels like a startup,” Lore told Fortune Magazine’s executive editor Adam Lashinsky at an Advertising Week panel on Wednesday. “We’re running fast and making a lot of moves.”
Lore attributed that to having shared values with Walmart’s president and chief executive officer.
“When I first met Doug McMillon before the acquisition, we just saw eye to eye on a lot of things and core values that the companies shared,” he said. “We built trust early on and its’s only grown over the first year. It all comes down to aligned values.”
Lore also seemed unperturbed about Amazon entering the grocery market with its recent acquisition of Whole Foods, which sent ripples through the retail industry. When asked what Walmart does better than Amazon, Lore said that Walmart’s unique assets separated it from the rest of its competition, including Amazon.
According to Lore, Walmart’s 4,600 stores across the US and efficient way of deploying its inventory equipped it to compete with Amazon. He said 90% of the US population is within 10 miles of a Walmart, which is a huge strength. He added that the company was experimenting with various delivery options, including getting its associates to chime in and crowdsourcing.
“We have 1.2 million associates in 4,600 stores across the country who can do this,” he said. “That combined with the crowdsourcing, allows us to deliver fresh, frozen and general merchandize in 2 hours or the same day at a lower cost then anybody else. We can do 2-hour delivery cheaper than anybody else because of the assets we have.”
Lore however conceded that Amazon’s advantage over Walmart was the overall experience it offered.
“I think it goes without saying that it’s on Walmart to get the experience, the assortment, finding the product, content, delivery experience,” he said. “We have a lot of work to do and we have a plan in place to fix it.”
Lore added that the next frontier for the battle between the two companies was going to be fresh produce, but that he felt confident about Walmart’s chances to win.
“If you can have a magical experience with fresh [produce], build the relationship and build trust, you can build on the long tail on the backend,” he said. “I like our chances. I feel we’re really well-equiped with both the stores and what we’re doing with the dot com.”
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