Professional Swimmer or Category Specialist? At Walmart, He’s Both

By Walmart Staff
May 30, 2017
Scott Hilton holding his gold medal

When shopping online, we know you want to be able to find exactly what you’re looking for along with all the information you need to make a smart shopping decision. The people behind the merchandise we sell online work hard to combine the right products at the right prices with a great shopping experience across all shopping categories, from groceries and household essentials to even less frequently purchased items like swim gear.

Behind the scenes, there’s a growing army of people who are specializing in creating these product experiences for customers. True to that mission, they’re called category specialists. We recently sat down with Scott Hilton, chief revenue officer for Walmart U.S. eCommerce, and one of our newest recruits, Nathan Adrian, gold medal winning professional swimmer and swimming category lead, to learn more about this role.

WMT: Scott, tell us about what you do for Walmart customers.

Scott: Imagine this: You recently got into swimming and need to stock up on all the items you need for your new activity. You go to Walmart.com to look for a new pair of swimming goggles. You look at pictures, read descriptions and customer reviews before you decide which pair you want, and then you check out. You choose whether you want to have it shipped to your house in two days for free or to get a discount for picking it up at a Walmart store.

All of these steps are an essential – and connected – part of the customer experience. My team’s job is to spend every day obsessing over each and every step. This means making sure we not only have the right products at the right prices, but also a great end-to-end shopping experience for our customers.

WMT: What role does the category specialist play in that overall process?

Scott: Category specialists are the foundation of our e-commerce approach. They are responsible for owning the complete customer experience and business performance for their specific product area – they’re the CEO of their category. They’ll make sure we have the items customers want, whether it’s products we sell directly or those listed by third parties on our marketplace, across our entire family of sites – Walmart.com, Jet.com, Hayneedle.com, Moosejaw.com, Shoes.com and ModCloth.com.

We’re currently expanding this team and hiring hundreds of high-performing individuals into these roles over the next couple of months. We’re bringing on people with a variety of backgrounds, including new college graduates starting out in the business world. In some cases, we’re looking to some unique individuals to run a category – we just hired professional swimmer and gold medalist, Nathan Adrian, to join our team as the category specialist over swimming.

WMT: Nathan, what made you interested in joining Walmart?

Nathan: When Walmart approached me for this role, I was intrigued. With 23 years of swimming experience, I have a unique perspective I can bring to the job.

WMT: What do you plan to do first?

Nathan: The first step is all about the basics – we have to have a great assortment. I plan to review and expand the products we offer to make sure we have the right items for every type of swimmer – from the toddler learning how to swim (you have to get it right at the beginning!) to the high school competitive swimmer needing a suit and equipment for training and meets.

Lead Photo Credit: CHRISTOPHE SIMON/AFP/Getty Images