May 19, 2020

Walmart takes the gloves off against Amazon

Walmart
Amazon
Retail
e-commerce
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 Walmart.com’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.

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Jun 18, 2021

Microsoft: Building a secure foundation to drive NASCAR

NASCAR
Microsoft
3 min
Racing fans can expect the ultimate virtual experience as a result of the partnership with Microsoft and NASCAR

Microsoft is a key partner of The National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing (NASCAR) and together they are driving ahead to create an inclusive and immersive new fan experience (FX).

These long-term partners have not only navigated the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic with the use of Microsoft Teams and Microsoft 365, but are now looking to a future packed with virtual events to enhance the FX, well beyond NASCAR’S famous Daytona racetrack. 

“Together, we've created a secure environment that's allowed for collaboration, but the future is all about the fans”, said Melinda Cook, General Manager for Microsoft South USA Commercial Business, who cited a culture of transparency, passion, adaptiveness, and a growth mindset as to why this alignment is so successful.”

“We've partnered to create a fluid, immersive experience for the users that is supported by a secure foundation with Microsoft in the background. We are focused on empowering and enabling customers and businesses, like NASCAR, to reach their full potential. We do this with our cloud platform which provides data insights and security.”

“Our cloud environment allows NASCAR to move forward with their digital transformation journey while we are in the background,” said Cook who highlights that Microsoft is helping NASCAR

  • Empower employees productivity and collaboration
  • Improve fan engagement and experience
  • Improve environment security and IT productivity
  • Improve racing operations

 

Microsoft Teams, which is part of the Microsoft 365 suite, enabled employees to work remotely, while staying productive, during the pandemic. “This allowed people to provide the same level of productivity with the use of video conference and instant messaging to collaborate on documents. Increased automation also allows the pit crews, IT, and the business to focus on safety, racing operations, and on the fan experience,” said Cook.

“We have started to innovate to create a more inclusive fanbase, this includes using Xbox to give people the experience of being a virtual racer or even leveraging some of the tools in Microsoft Teams to have a virtual ride along experience.”

“These environments are how we create a more inclusive and immersive experience for the fans. We're working on a virtual fan wall which allows people from new locations to participate in these events,” said Cook, who pointed out Microsoft was also helping bring legacy experiences alive from NASCAR’s archives. 

“At Microsoft we can take it one level further by letting fans know what it's like to see the pit crew experience, the data and all the behind-the-scenes action. We will continue to improve automation with machine learning and artificial intelligence, from marketing to IT operations to finance to racing operations,” said Cook.

Christine Stoffel-Moffett, Vice President of Enterprise Technology at NASCAR, said: “Microsoft is one of our key partners. They have been instrumental in helping the NASCAR enterprise technology team re-architect our Microsoft systems to ensure an advanced level of security across our environment, contribute to our business outcomes, and focus on fan experience.”

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