Wal-Mart ups e-commerce bid with Web site relaunch
January 4, 2000
by Dan Briody
(IDG) -- Retail giant Wal-Mart rang in the new year by relaunching its Web site, an online superstore that means direct competition for thousands of online retailers.
Eschewing the widespread fears of year-2000 bugs that put freezes on many companies' activities over the New Year's holiday, Wal-Mart rolled out its new site on Jan. 1. The online store is home to 24 different shops, which include everything from travel planning to jewelry to pet supplies, with an easily navigated floor plan, the company said.
In addition to the wide variety of goods for sale, the site launched a new feature called My Wal-Mart, designed to offer personalized service online, such as buying histories and faster checkout. Other features were built in to help customers find items faster and easier.
Wal-Mart is also taking advantage of its diverse product base to cross-sell a number of items. For example, while shopping for a novel in the book department, a bookshelf or desk from housewares may be marketed to the customer as well.
Already analysts are saying the new site will spell trouble for established e-tailers such as Amazon.com.
"It's impossible not to compare Wal-Mart with Amazon because Amazon has the strongest e-tailing brand and Wal-Mart has the strongest offline brand," said financial analyst Brad Hill of TipWorld.com. "Wal-Mart has the offline head start and their resources allow them to persevere in the online space in a cleaner way than Amazon has been able to."
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