The following Q&A with Walmart CEO Doug McMillon is excerpted from our 2015 Annual Report, which was just released today. Read more at http://stock.walmart.com/annual-reports
Q: What is the strategic plan to drive Walmart’s continued growth in a changing retail environment around the world?
A: Given the breadth of our business, strategic clarity is really important. We’re thinking about the future through the lens of the customer. Customers are channel agnostic – shopping in stores, online or with their phones is more seamless than it used to be. We’re thinking the same way. Walmart possesses unique assets and capabilities to serve customers with our stores, clubs, global supply chain, data and great associates. We want to enable customers to find what they want, at a value, in a convenient, enjoyable way, regardless of how they shop. Our customer proposition is focused on four areas – price, access, assortment and experience. Each dimension is important, and we take a holistic view to how they integrate with each other. Our plan provides a framework to ignite, energize and accelerate change, as we make decisions and investments.
Q: How does Walmart’s everyday low price (EDLP) philosophy translate across markets globally?
A: We serve value conscious customers, regardless of household income, all over the world. So, we’ll always be aggressive on price. EDLP builds customer trust, both in stores and online. That’s especially important in a digital era where there’s greater price transparency. To deliver price leadership, we continue to focus on driving everyday low cost (EDLC) through improvements in supply chain, processes and other efficiencies.
Q: How are you providing greater access for customers to shop Walmart?
A: Through our more than 11,000 stores, websites and mobile apps, customers can access Walmart in more ways than ever before. It’s vital to have relevant formats in each market we serve. But the future of retail is not just in-store or online – it’s putting the two together in new ways. I’m excited that we’re leaders in integrating digital and physical retail in a seamless fashion. We’ll continue to test and learn as we explore options for convenient merchandise pickup or delivery to save customers’ time.
Q: How are you expanding the assortment with your e-commerce offering?
A: Customers want more merchandise choices, and they expect to find almost anything when shopping Walmart. In our stores, we’re focused on providing quality merchandise, desirable national brands and great private brand options. On the e-commerce front, we provide those same things through an expanded assortment of approximately 8 million items on walmart.com in the U.S. Interestingly, 75% of walmart.com sales come from non-store inventory, thus providing incremental sales growth beyond our stores. And, this is a global effort. In Brazil, for example, our online assortment, including from marketplace partners, grew tenfold last year.
Q: What are your most important objectives to improve customer experience, both in stores and online?
A: Retail has always been a people business, and we win when associates exceed customer expectations. That’s why we’re investing in higher wages and increased training and development for our U.S. associates. We’ll also equip them with information and technology to facilitate great customer service. We’re focused on running great stores and websites by improving in-stock and driving a faster checkout, both online and in stores. I’m excited about the progress we’ll make for customers this year.