2. Price action, efficiency on the horizon
With Walmart now in the back half of its two-year recalibration under CEO Doug McMillon, officials are talking again about leveraging these investments on multiple fronts — and, at long last, making something of them financially.
“We’re still pushing the ball up the hill — it’s not rolling down on its own yet,” McMillon confessed. “But some really encouraging things are happening.”
Key to all of it is getting sales moving again, a process officials expect will come once billions in price investments follow upon the improvements in stores.
Those pricing investments have only just begun — and the “smiley face” iconography is returning to remind us. “We haven’t been as sharp as we needed to be on price for the last few years,” Steve Bratspies, chief merchandising officer, said. “We had the price lead but it’s shrunk in certain areas more than we’d like. Our brand is about price leadership, and when we say ‘Save money to live better’ we mean it. So the onus is on us to deliver that.”
A demonstration of a drone capable of inventorying an entire warehouse in a single day is only the beginning of what could be massive sources of cost savings through technology.
Shekar Natarajan, who created the program for Walmart, acknowledged the drone could be deployed not just in a warehouse but theoretically in any building, and that inventory counting was but one capability for which that technology could be used. Stay tuned.