Who wins the online food battle?

I wrote the following comment for RetailWire awhile ago, focused strictly on the battle for online grocery shopping between Walmart, Amazon and traditional food retailers. Walmart has well-documented problems handling groceries in its physical locations, but I think they can emerge the winner online:

If anybody can leapfrog past Amazon in the areas of food and consumables, it’s Walmart. The company is correct in making the kinds of investments in infrastructure, logistics and systems to make this happen. But Walmart will need to think about more than pricing — they need to move faster on service initiatives like BOPIS and grocery home delivery. They start with a tremendous advantage of a massive brick-and-mortar footprint capable of operating as a network of mini-distribution centers.

But Amazon has its hands in so many product categories that they will continue to dominate the overall omnichannel arena. Because of Walmart’s focus on opening-price goods, Amazon has an array of categories and brands that are simply not available to Walmart. Customers think about Amazon in terms of assortment reach, pricing and execution…not always in terms of “lowest common denominator” merchandising.


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