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Technology

Walmart's Web Push Includes Turning CEO Into Yoga-Mat Salesman

If you’re in the market for a yoga mat this holiday season, Marc Lore has a deal for you.

The Walmart Stores executive, who runs the chain’s US online business, is taking on a second job as a salesman for the mats on Walmart.com. US Chief Technology Officer Jeremy King, meanwhile, is working on pitching abdominal-toning machines. And the e-commerce unit’s chief revenue officer, Scott Hilton, is overseeing exercise balls.

They’ve been locked in a 90-day contest since 5 October to see who can improve the performance of their assigned product category.

The idea is to throw the executives into the trenches during the holiday season, giving them a better sense of how they can challenge Amazon in the cutthroat world of e-commerce. They’ve been working alongside the regular category specialists, helping to make the staff more efficient in their roles.

“It’s fun, but it also gets us to understand a day in the life of merchants,” King said in an interview.

Online Push

The contest comes amid a recruitment drive at the Walmart online business, which has been revitalised since the company acquired Lore’s startup Jet.com last year.

E-commerce sales have grown by at least 60% in recent quarters, helping the retailer chip away at Amazon’s dominance. Walmart will give an update on its progress when it reports third-quarter results on 16 November.

Archimedes Stuk, a senior director of retail analytics at Walmart, will determine the winner of the contest - based on measures like sales, assortment and overall customer experience.

What will the victor get? “Respect,” King said.

News by Bloomberg, edited by ESM. Click subscribe to sign up to ESM: The European Supermarket Magazine.

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