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Walmart is Ready to Share its Fulfillment Tech With SMBs

Walmart wants to share its technological savvy with other businesses as channel integration and fulfillment are now pivotal to the modern shopping experience. The retailer is beginning its journey to spread the wealth by partnering with one of the U.S.’s most agile tech giants.

Adobe is integrating Walmart’s marketplace, online and in-store fulfillment and pickup technologies within the Adobe Commerce and Magento Open Source platforms and making the services available to customers. Adobe’s retail customers in the U.S. can integrate Walmart’s technologies in their own storefronts starting in early 2022.

“We’ve built new capabilities to serve the evolving needs of our own customers, and we have a unique opportunity to use our experience to help other businesses do the same,” said John Furner, CEO of Walmart U.S. in a statement. “Commercializing our technologies and capabilities helps us sustainably reinvest back into our customer value proposition.”

This means that retailers and brands using either platform can soon implement Walmart’s cloud-based fulfillment technologies in their own physical stores to offer their own pickup and delivery experiences. Additionally, these merchants will have the opportunity to syndicate their products online on Walmart Marketplace.

As part of the pickup experience, Adobe Commerce merchants will be able to show store pickup eligibility and available pickup times online, offer multiple pickup options including curbside and in-store pickup and provide store associates with advanced mobile tools to optimize pick path, multi-order pickups, validate item selection and manage substitutions.

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Additionally, these brands can introduce experiential features to add more value to the pickup process, including order pickup communications, check-in options that notify store associates when a shopper arrives, customer ETA and arrival detection.

“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. “Combining Adobe’s strength in powering commerce experiences with our unmatched omni-customer expertise, we can accelerate other companies’ digital transformations.”

By joining Walmart Marketplace, Adobe customers also will gain access to Walmart’s fulfillment services to offer two-day shipping to customers nationwide.

Adobe said that as part of the partnership, it is consolidating its other channel solutions into a single, unified extension to enable retail customers to manage multiple sales channels.

While Walmart may be seen as the leader of traditional retail with its slate of 10,500 stores, the company has been ahead of the game in recent years, particularly when it comes to getting its e-commerce initiatives up to speed. After buying e-commerce startup back in 2016 and putting its CEO Marc Lore at the head of its online operation, Walmart underwent a complete overhaul online in an attempt to further competition with Amazon.

Walmart went on an acquisition spree in the years after, scooping up digital-savvy brands including Bonobos, Moosejaw and ModCloth among many others. But the retailer’s biggest innovations came in the omnichannel fulfillment as it began partnering with various smaller third-party delivery providers like Postmates and DoorDash and experimented with curbside pickup for groceries, well before the Covid-19 pandemic forced retailers to adopt the option amid a demand for contactless shopping.

The retail giant even rolled out in-store “pickup towers” to cater to the growing interest in BOPIS in an effort to bring more consumers to its stores.

When the pandemic swept across the globe, the company heavily expanded its Express Delivery service, which was designed to get products delivered from a local store to the shopper in less than two hours. And after multiple delays, Walmart launched its Amazon Prime-competitor Walmart+ in September 2020 for $98 per year, which offers shoppers perks such as unlimited free delivery, fuel discounts and in-store mobile checkout.

Walmart is also relying on automation to fulfill the end consumer experience by expanding robotics across its 25 distribution centers in partnership with Symbotic.

Given the continued changes to Walmart’s ecosystem, more retailers could have the opportunity going forward to emulate the retailer’s fulfillment capabilities without needing to break the bank in their spending habits.

“In light of the pandemic, the most successful merchants have been those that invested in technology to deliver omnichannel fulfillment and frictionless commerce,” said Jordan Jewell, research director for digital commerce at IDC. “Adobe’s partnership with Walmart is the latest example of how the company is helping it’s merchants deliver differentiated commerce experiences, whether it’s through offering store pickup capabilities or reaching new customers that regularly shop on”