Wal-Mart Stores Inc. has named a new leader and structure forwalmart.com after a year in which the retailer’s e-commerce sales grew30 percent and a slew of new initiatives began taking hold.
FernandoMadeira was named president and chief executive officer of walmart.comwith responsibility for the U.S., Latin America and the further growthof walmart.com. Madeira, who has been based in São Paulo as presidentand ceo of Wal-Mart e-commerce in Latin America, will relocate to SanBruno, Calif., where the Web site is based. He will continue to reportto Neil Ashe, president and ceo of global e-commerce.
Madeirasucceeds Joel Anderson, who is leaving the company after three years tojoin Five Below as the teen discount retailer’s president.
Retailexperts said Anderson’s departure is a sign that Wal-Mart e-commerceexecutives are in demand. The company hired 1,000 new technologists thisyear for @WalmartLabs, its digital headquarters in Silicon Valley.While Wal-Mart has had a presence in Silicon Valley for years, retailerssuch as Target Corp. located offices there recently.
Wal-Mart ismaking synergistic acquisitions and creating apps that leverage itsdigital infrastructure. The massive retailer is tying that into itsphysical scale.
“Wal-Mart is bold in making so many moves atonce,” said Carol Spieckerman, president of Newmarketbuilders. Forexample, the retailer said its Savings Catcher, an online receipt pricecomparison tool, will be rolled out nationwide this summer as a mobileapp. Wal-Mart is using its stores as fulfillment hubs and tetheringSuperCenters to Wal-Mart Express and Neighborhood Stores, givingconsumers more options than the smaller formats can physically offer.The @WalmartLabs office is also working on a predictive intelligenceplatform that allows data scientists to build and deploy predictivealgorithms that can influence customer experience in real time.
Thecompany, which touted global e-commerce at its annual meeting lastweek, has recorded five consecutive quarters of declines in revenue inits U.S. division. The retailer has also seen a decline in same-storesales for six straight quarters.
In an internal memo obtained byWWD, Ashe listed Madeira’s accomplishments. “We’ve seen Brazil growtwice as fast as the market, while increasing traffic fourfold,” hesaid. “Fernando and his team have dramatically increased assortment,adding nearly one million stockkeeping units, bringing new products fromaround the world.” Walmart.com Brazil is one of the largest e-commercecompanies in the country. In other markets, Madeira leveraged sales andmarketing efforts, driving triple-digit growth in Argentina, Chile andMexico.
Another priority is to develop Pangaea, Wal-Mart’s globaltechnology platform. Not only is the retailer sharing informationbetween divisions, it’s sharing leaders from abroad, as the Madeiraappointment underscores. Wal-Mart global e-commerce is also making manyof its acquisitions overseas. “Wal-Mart’s acquisitiveness is not slowingdown, in fact I’d expect it to speed up,” Spieckerman said.
“They’restarting to make some noise about [wearable technology],” Spieckermansaid. “They will be ready to start showcasing it in their stores.”
Aspokesman for @WalmartLabs said, “We’re always exploring new technologyin our labs, but don’t have anything to share around wearables at thistime.”
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