One thing is clear: Doug McMillan is not waving the white flag. If anyone embodies the spirit of fighting back against Amazon, it’s Walmart’s CEO. In the March-April 2017 issue of Harvard Business Review, Doug opened up about his near and long-term strategy for Walmart.
“We try to focus on the customer more than on the competition. Of course, we have competitors in our peripheral vision, and we try to learn from them. We’re trying to hire great talent in the digital area. We’ve made acquisitions, and I’m sure we’ll do more. We’re also more open to partnering than we were in the past. We don’t need to build everything on our own.”
And Doug is a man of action. Today, Walmart announced a strategic partnership with Google to take on Amazon. With an eye towards the future, this partnership allows Walmart to sell its products on Google Express; Google’s online shopping destination.
This move is brilliant, and also specifically targets Amazon’s strategy around voice technology. The playing field is leveled, and we as consumers now have two great options: Do you own Amazon Alexa and spend all of your money with Amazon, or Do you own Google Home and spend all of your money with Google + Walmart?
Walmart carries the second largest online assortment to Amazon, thanks to also deploying the same online marketplace strategy. This strategic partnership is highly beneficial to both companies. It increases Walmart's geographical reach and online exposure for their products, and gives Google a huge step forward into eCommerce. It's a necessary shift for Google away from their struggling advertising business, most recently plagued by having to refund advertisers for fraudulent traffic.
The answer to the question, “Can Google + Walmart take on Amazon?” is, “Yes.” As a consumer I’m happy to have more options, and I’m really excited to see Doug’s next move.