Our Associates are Our Best Innovators

Published on June 06, 2013 and last updated on October 21, 2013

Walmart Shareholders Meeting 2013
June 06, 2013

Walmart Shareholders Meeting 2013

Remarks as Prepared for Neil Ashe

Good morning, Walmart! What a great morning and a great week. Have you been following all the action at our #WMTShares hashtag? I have too - Great stuff.

Here are a few of my favorite Twitpics:

Associates from Brazil visiting Mr. Sam's five and dime…

An associate from Massmart on the tour… maybe the next Mr. Sam…

Associates at the Walmart US meeting signing beach balls with their store numbers… so cool.

Oh… and that's just a selfie of me and my new best friend! OK. Fine… I photo-shopped it.  Just don't tell my daughter. I might have told her we're hanging out this week and she's pretty jealous.

Technology is changing everything about our lives -- from how we experience a meeting like this to how we shop.

Today, Walmart is known as the world's leading retailer. But we are also one of the largest, fastest growing and most dynamic e-commerce companies in the world. Walmart also happens to be one of the most innovative companies on Earth.

From EDLP to our logistics network to our satellite system to our approach to eCommerce -- innovation is in our DNA.

Innovation is often about change.  It's exciting and it can even feel a little uncomfortable, because it means stepping out of our comfort zone and doing things differently. And, it's what we do best.

And that means all of us.  Sometimes innovation is invention.  But, more often it just means doing things better.

Our logistics team shaving miles off our truck routes… that's innovation. Our store teams finding new ways to keep produce fresh… that's innovation. An associate figuring out how to stock a mod more efficiently… that's innovation. Everyone at Walmart has the opportunity to be an innovator.

Our vision for e-commerce leverages innovation from across the company. We let customers choose when, where and how they want to shop -- whether that's on the web, on their mobile phone, or in our stores.

This means unleashing a lot of innovation -- both the inventing kind and the doing things better kind… from a lot of Walmart associates.  Let me introduce you to a few of them.

Say you go online right now to Walmart.com to search for a new tablet computer. Well, Abhishek and team reinvented that search engine. It now uses volumes of information to better understand what you want.  The result is that more customers are finding what they want and buying more often after they search.

If you don't have a credit or debit card you can now pay cash for your tablet in a store, thanks to Rachel at Walmart.com, Shannon in innovations and lots of people like Molly from across the company.  

Or say you're a customer in the UK who wants to order online and pick up your merchandise in a store.  Well, I'd like you to meet Carol. She's part of ASDA's "click and collect" program .

Or imagine you're in Shanghai, and you really don't want to fight traffic to get to the store. You won't see a delivery truck at your door, but you will see Yawn Ching, Shing Chee, Sigh Hong and our scooter gang.

Folks, that's innovation… Walmart-style.

Only Walmart can combine best-in-class ecommerce capabilities with the assets of the world's largest retailer. And I'm proud to tell you that we are seizing this opportunity.  We are growing fast and taking share in e-commerce around the world.

Walmart.com is one of the top e-commerce sites in the U.S. In Brazil, we went from #8 in site visitors to #1 …in just five months. In China, we made a major investment in Yihaodian -- one of the fastest growing ecommerce businesses in Asia. ASDA is now the second largest online grocer in the UK. And, in the first quarter of this year, we grew global e-commerce revenue by more than 30% over last year.

The best inspiration for innovation comes from our own experiences as associates and customers. We can help those ideas come to life, through forums like the "hack days" in our San Bruno office. On hack days, associates put their usual work aside for a day to focus on developing new ideas.

Let me introduce you to one hack day idea that came to life. The parents out there know how hard it is to get your kids ready to go back to school. What you might not know is that teachers spend an average of $350 out of their own pockets on supplies, and that just isn't fair.

Vidal is an engineer with @Walmartlabs, and a father of five kids. He saw firsthand how parents were confused about which supplies their kids needed to start the year… and knew that many families and teachers struggled to afford it all.

On a hack day last year, he did something about it. His idea was for an online tool called "Classrooms by Walmart."   Classrooms lets teachers from across the country post lists online of supplies needed by students and for the classroom. It makes it easier for parents to buy supplies online or print a list for their shopping trip ...so it's easier to budget… and because it's Walmart… easier to afford. Today, we have more than 100,000 classroom lists uploaded.

Vidal's idea clearly helped simplify peoples' lives, but it also created a community of people working together to make education better. Not only did it help other parents and teachers in his own children's classrooms; it has helped parents and teachers across the country.

That's the power of innovation at Walmart.

One good idea from one associate can help hundreds of millions of people save money and live better. Walmart has innovated in the past, is innovating today and we will innovate in the future. Innovation is in our blood. It's what we do.

We will win in e-commerce by being Walmart ....and we will be a better Walmart when we win in e-commerce.

Thank you.

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