Two names readily comes to mind when thoughts of retailing business pops up and these two (retailing stores) are assiduously making moves to outdo one another as they continually raise the stakes. Amazon and Walmart have been showing immense powerplay in the area of their specialization- retailing and this can be seen in their actions. Just recently, Amazon acquired Whole foods for $13.7billion and as though showing the extent of their rivalry, Walmart flexed its financial muscles by buying over Bonobos for $310million to sustain the serial acquisition of online apparel vendors.
Aside these acquisitions, the way these two giants have been upgrading and rendering their services also says much about the rivalry between them. For instance; Walmart, in a bid to woo customers [that are already on Amazon ‘Prime’], decides to offer free shipping on millions of items and in response to this, Amazon had to extend ‘Prime’ to low-income consumers.
However, viewing this from another dimension, you will notice that Amazon has been looking to catch up with Walmart in delivering grocery items and it is to this end that it has started making efforts to plant its drive-up grocery pickup in some areas that were previously uncharted. Also, the company is aiming to complement this with a unique initiative of its own- the cashier-free ‘Go’ convenience store. One should however not surmise that Walmart is ‘all good’ as it is nursing the plan of filling the lacuna of the non-availability or insufficiency of inventory in some specific locations. This is the motive behind (Walmart’s) purchase of ShoeBuy and another apparel store, Modcloth and also Hayneedle [albeit through its subsidiary, Jet.com]. Hence, it is safe to say that none of these two have it all figured out at the moment. One thing you will deduce from this, is that Walmart is investing in the sector that seem to be pulling the crowd at the moment- the Apparel business. But where does Amazon stand in all this? It (Amazon) is definitely not folding its hands as it has been intimated that it would soon hit the market with its own fashion label- so, watch for those Amazon clothing items.
To wrap this up: for every competition, there is always a trophy or gold medal for the winner at the end but in this scenario, the trophy will only be given to the one [between the two] who first figures out how to perfectly run the online and offline businesses side-by-side with little or no hassle. But bear in mind: this competition might just turn out to be an endless one.