Walmart’s investments in software and retail technologies it used to transform its business from a brick-and-mortar to one that combines both in-person and online shopping will now be made available to other retailers for the first time, the company announced today.
Through a strategic partnership with Adobe, Walmart will integrate access to Walmart’s Marketplace, as well as its various online and in-store fulfillment and pickup technologies, into the Adobe Commerce Platform.
The technologies will be made available to both Adobe Commerce and Magento Open Source customers, Adobe says.
The deal will allow Walmart to potentially reach thousands of small to mid-sized retailers, who will effectively be able to tap into the same tools that one of the largest global retailers is using to run their business.
Through the partnership, Adobe retail customers will be able to do things like show store pickup eligibility and available pickup times online; offer multiple pickup options like curbside and in-store pickup; provide their store associates with mobile tools to pick for orders, validate item selections and handle substitutions; and use tools to communicate with customers about their pickup orders, like those where customers can alert store associates of their ETA or arrival for curbside pickup.
Another aspect of the partnership will allow retailers to syndicate and sell their products across Walmart’s Marketplace.
The arrangement not only aims to benefit Walmart’s bottom line as it offers new revenue streams related to retail technologies, it could also serve as another tool in Walmart’s battle with Amazon for online retail dominance.
Retail businesses will use the Adobe Commerce platform to reach an expanded set of customers by listing products on Walmart’s Marketplace and then leverage Walmart’s Fulfillment Services to offer two-day shopping across the U.S.
And this, in turn, could boost the number of available products sold on Walmart’s Marketplace, which is still largely dwarfed by Amazon.
Walmart’s Marketplace had grown to an estimated 70,000 sellers in 2020, fueled by a surge in online shopping triggered by the pandemic, according to third-party estimates. This was a more than doubling over 2019. Today, the marketplace is topping 100,000 sellers, per Marketplace Pulse data. Amazon’s Marketplace, on the other hand, counts an estimated 6.3 million total sellers worldwide, 1.5 million of which are currently active, per estimates.
Part of Walmart’s problem in scaling its marketplace business could be related to its ease-of-use on the seller side. Many smaller sellers have reported that Walmart’s Marketplace is far more difficult to use than Amazon’s, and they’ve complained about waiting months to hear back from Walmart about whether they were approved to sell on the platform.
Adobe’s partnership could help to address some of those challenges.
Adobe also notes it’s working to consolidate its other channel solutions into a single, unified extension that would allow its retail customers to sell across multiple sales channels — including Amazon’s — using one, integrated tool for easy account setup and catalog syndication.
This is the first time Walmart has made its retail technologies available to other businesses, the company said. And it has yet to forecast what sort of revenue the new partnership could bring in. But it’s a path that Amazon has also been pursuing in recent years to maximize the return on investment from its novel, retail innovations, like its A.I. and computer vision-powered Just Walk Out system that lets customers skip the checkout line.
“The core mission of helping people save money and live better is at the heart of every idea including Scan & Go and checkout technologies, AI-powered smart substitutions and pickup and delivery,” said Suresh Kumar, chief technology officer and chief development officer of Walmart Inc., in a statement. “Combining Adobe’s strength in powering commerce experiences with our unmatched omni-customer expertise, we can accelerate other companies’ digital transformations,” he said.
Adobe’s retail customers in the U.S. will be able to integrate Walmart’s technologies in their own storefronts starting in early 2022, the companies said. Pricing and other details will be provided closer to launch.
While today’s announcement concerns channel partner Adobe, who will help to resell the technologies, Walmart also has a GoToMarket team that will target retailers directly.