May 19, 2020

Walmart takes the gloves off against Amazon

Tomás H. Lucero
2 min
Walmart takes the gloves off against Amazon

Walmart is king in retail, but Amazon is king in e-commerce. Now Walmart has made its first serious move to challenge Amazon in its realm.

According to Marketwatch, Walmart is now testing a service that may compete with Amazon’s “Prime” service in the future. Prime offers customers free shipping within two days for just under $100. Walmart’s test service offers unlimited free shipping in three or less days for $50 per year.

Quoted in Marketwatch, Walmart spokesperson Ravi Jariwala said, “We heard from customers that they want shipping that’s predictable and affordable.” Amen to that.

Even though Walmart’s new service is competitive in terms of speed between order and product arrival, Prime still edges it by a wide margin. In addition to the free shipping, Amazon’s Prime also offers streaming of movies, TV shows and songs, and lends access to the 800,000 books at Kindle Owners’ Lending library. So it’s a tough road for Walmart but it’s building up its arsenal.

According to Marketwatch, “To better study how consumers shop online and via mobile devices, Wal-Mart has bought several tech startups, mainly to acquire the skill set of their founders. It also offers online orders for same-day pick up at local stores, and is testing same-day grocery delivery in markets like San Jose.”

Is it too little too late, though? Should Walmart settle for its retail dominance as well as focus on quelling the discontent within its rank and file employees? One important reason why Amazon is e-commerce king is because they’ve been at it from the beginning of their operation. As a result, their worldwide sales are $89 billion. $51 billion is sold in America. Compare this to’s $6.81 billion sales.

Walmart’s new test service is designed to be the hook to keep customers returning to its website that Amazon has and Walmart doesn’t—until now. This hook is “free shipping.”

We shall see if the tactic delivers.

Related Story: Reasons why your competition is beating you

Related Story: Secrets of the Amazon(.com)

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May 14, 2021

Dark Wolf: accelerating security for USAF

U.S Air Force
Dark Wolf Solutions
Paddy Smith
2 min
Dark Wolf Solutions is small and agile, its partnership with the US Air Force is helping to deliver critical security faster and better than ever before

As a small company whose biggest customers are the Department of Defense and the Intelligence Community, Dark Wolf Solutions (Dark Wolf) is a triple-threat, specializing in Cybersecurity, Software and DevOps, and Management Solutions. Dark Wolf secures and tests cloud platforms, develops and deploys applications, and offers consultancy services performing system engineering, system integration, and mission support.

The break for Dark Wolf came when the Department of Defense decided to explore software factories. Rick Tossavainen, Dark Wolf’s CEO, thinks it was an inspired path for the DoD to take. “It was a really great decision,” he says, “Let’s pull our people together as part of this digital transformation and recreate what Silicon Valley startup firms typically have. Let’s get into commercial facilities where we have open windows and big whiteboards and just promote ideation and collaboration. And it creates this collaborative environment where people start creating things much more rapidly than before.”

It has been, Tossavainen says, “amazing to watch” and has energized the Federal Contracting Sector with an influx of new talent and improved working environments that foster creativity and innovative ways of approaching traditional problems.

“We originally started working with the US Air Force about three years ago. The problem was at the time you could develop all the software you wanted but you couldn’t get it into production – you had to go through the traditional assessment and authorization process. I talked to Lauren Knausenberger and she told me about Kessel Run and what eventually came out of this was the DoD’s first continuous ATO [Authority To Operate].”

The secret to Dark Wolf’s success – and its partnerships with USAF and Space Force – lies in a client-first attitude. “We’re not looking to maximise revenue,” Tossavainen explains. “We tell all of our employees, if you’re ever faced with an issue and you don’t know how to resolve it, and one solution is better for the customer and the second is better for Dark Wolf, you always do number one. We’ve just got to take care of our customers, and I look for other partners that want to do that. And let’s work together so that we can bring them the best answer we can.”

Rapid releases and constant evolution of software are common themes among USAF’s partners. Like many firms operating in the commercial and public sector spaces, Dark Wolf leads with a DevSecOps approach.

“Failure is tolerated,” says Tossavainen. “If it’s not going the right way in three months, let’s adjust. Let’s rapidly change course. And you can tell really quickly if something’s going to be successful or not, because they’re doing deployments multiple times a day – to the customer.”

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