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When Walmart Get Wise

Forging new battle lines

What has Walmart done?

Walmart Labs has emerged over the last 24 months to work on some significant shifts across the world of grocery and online shopping - UK based Tesco followed suit with a relatively paired down version to their American counterpart with Tesco Labs

Both operate very differently, while Tesco has engendered relations within the tech ecosystem across London; Walmart has proclaimed they're building a new-age tech company in itself at the heart of a retail company. There have been numerous acquisitions, spanning multiple sectors and there's no doubt they're very serious about acclimatising themselves to the battle they face with Amazon on their own turf. 

Amazon are the role reversed, a tech company that has grown into retail and now also grocery; enter Amazon Fresh with a localised ecosystem and army of delivery vehicles, not to mention their ambition to deliver from land, air and sea autonomously. 

 

Open is the new black.

Walmart has quickly asserted they may not have the resources or stomach to go toe-to-toe with Amazon from a technical standpoint, instead they've decided to harvest their own open stack of tools (electrode.io) from which developers can begin building their own versions of the future. With Walmart of course. After all, Amazon also has AWS, arguably their strongest weapon of choice.

Walmart is encouraging the developer ecosystem to choose them for a better shot at ROI with app development and naturally access to their millions of US customers - a reasonable tradeoff. While they not only seek to envelope the wider developer ecosystem to build for them and share in the returns, they're leveraging their weight in reach to customers with an enhanced (and more plentiful) range of choice. 

Wait. What have Walmart launched?

Electrode is essentially a backend infrastructure that has the capacity to operate as a modern ecommerce backbone; imagine what Shopify is but upside down. The best comparison is perhaps UK based Moltin, a developer framework for hosting commerce solutions that can be integrated into any application with any 3rd party service connected.

While it's very early days and best left alone for the developer agencies to have a play with - Electrode may well be in your thoughts when considering a fully open stack of options when it comes to your ecommerce strategy. Supposing you don't mind sharing that information with Walmart.

 

 

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