Walmart looks to draw shoppers to website with a growing digital marketplace

This article first appeared in The Edge Financial Daily, on August 28, 2018.
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NEW YORK: Walmart, already the US’ largest retailer, is trying to create a massive, digital marketplace to draw more shoppers to its website — and away from its biggest rival, Amazon.

Starting yesterday, edgy outdoor-gear company Moosejaw has been featured on Walmart’s website with its own, online destination. Purchased by Walmart in 2017, Moosejaw’s assortment of merchandise includes items from brands like Patagonia and Canada Goose — a departure from what many customers have come to expect from Walmart and its everyday low prices.

The Bentonville, Arkansas-based retailer has been branching into higher-end goods. It has acquired men’s apparel company Bonobos and women’s fashion and accessory company ModCloth in recent years. Moosejaw’s online shop also builds on Walmart’s recent deal with Lord & Taylor, which created a fashion destination on Walmart.com with more premium brands.

Moosejaw, like the other companies Walmart has acquired of late, targets millennial shoppers, which is something Walmart has said it wants to do more of, especially as that younger generation has greater spending power.

The new landing page for Moosejaw on Walmart.com will include “thousands of items” from premium outdoor brands like Deuter, Craghoppers and First Ascent by Eddie Bauer, the companies said yesterday in a blog post. It will also sell Moosejaw-branded clothing, including its jackets and other camping gear, and the plan is to add more Moosejaw products over time.

“We are introducing a completely new, outdoor specialty assortment that has not been available to Walmart customers in the past,” Moosejaw chief executive officer Eoin Comerford said in a statement. “It is kind of an honour since this is the first time that Walmart is creating an online store on its flagship site, curated by one of its acquired specialty retailers.”

With Amazon also adding more brands to its website, the two companies have been competing to offer a wider assortment of items to shoppers. Some brands working with Amazon today include Chico’s FAS and Calvin Klein. — CNBC