The Wall Street Journal interviewed Karenann Terrell, CIO of Walmart.  For anyone who’s interested in Big Commerce and Big Data, the article is a good read on how to use information to increase customer satisfaction, sales and profits.

Karenann Terrell, CIO, Walmart Stores - Wall Street Journal

Karenann Terrell, CIO, Walmart Stores – Wall Street Journal

How’s it work? While there are many data uses and users at Walmart, one key application has been to formulate and optimize the online customer experience — and its online order+pick up in store. Initial algorithms to guide order assembly (from in store shelves) were tweaked  for speed. Then, with personalization, online user interface and order processing were optimized. These adaptations have yielded higher customer satisfaction among online shoppers than non-online shoppers. 90% customer sat: that’s terrific!

Of course, this takes on greater significance with Walmart’s recent acquisition of Jet, the consumer home delivery service.

Key take away’s:

  • Tap the data you have under your fingertips
  • Plot out the consumer journey, identify opportunities by measuring issues and developing solutions
  • Online order and pick-up CAN be a satisfying experience and challenger to the myriad options for delivered groceries and meals (Uber Eats, Yelp Eat 24, Munchery, Blue Apron and many more):
    – Convenient as part of commute;
    – Fast without time window;
    – Low cost logistics;
    – Low environmental impact (No elaborate ice or insulated boxes)

Read the interview here: Wal-Mart’s CIO on the Retailer’s Push Into Online Grocery Shopping_WSJ_2016-10-03

Earlier, Doug McMillon, president and CEO, Wal-Mart Stores, Inc.  said “We believe the acquisition of Jet accelerates our progress across these priorities. Walmart.com will grow faster, the seamless shopping experience we’re pursuing will happen quicker, and we’ll enable the Jet brand to be even more successful in a shorter period of time. Our customers will win.”

Clearly the acquisition gives momentum and clout for online user base and marketing know how.

The role of analytics and the CIO will only grow in importance with volume. And that seems to be, and has always been, Walmart’s sweet spot:  “the low cost leader”. By contrast, prepared meals will serve smaller geographically defined areas, whereas grocery delivery or pickup at lowest cost will have  broad appeal.

Your thoughts?