Will 'Green Monday' pay off for Wal-Mart?December 9, 2013: 11:31 AM ET
The giant retailer is pushing online and mobile sales. Will the latest cyberpush help America's biggest company reach its e-commerce ambitions?
FORTUNE -- Retailers and analysts have dubbed today "Green Monday," another opportunity (one week after "Cyber Monday" to promote online specials and bolster sales numbers. For retailing giant Wal-Mart (WMT), which says it already has seen record online traffic and sales this holiday season, Green Monday represents another chance to not only surpass its ambitious e-commerce numbers, but to find ways to link its e-store and apps to its more than 3,800 Walmart stores in the U.S.
Wal-Mart executives have said they want to make online and physical shopping experiences to complement each other. If a store is sold out of an item, for example, Wal-Mart customers should be able to go on their smartphones or tablets and easily find the same item. Neil Ashe, Wal-Mart's president and CEO of global e-commerce, described the company's strategy in an interview earlier this year at Brainstorm Tech conference.
Joel Anderson, president and CEO of Walmart.com, tells Fortune that the company's efforts at online-offline synergy are starting to pay off. "Mobile visits made over 50% of the visits to Walmart.com," he says. In addition, Anderson has noticed more consumers using their mobile devices to check prices and reviews while in physical Wal-Marts as well as order online and pick up at a brick-and-mortar location.
To be sure, online commerce still represents a small fraction of Wal-Mart's annual sales. The company, ranked No. 1 title on the Fortune 500 list, raked in $466 billion in sales in 2012. Executives have projected the retailer's online sales would hit about $10 billion this year, but Anderson says it is "is in a position to exceed" that forecast. (Amazon.com (AMZN), ranked No. 56 on the Fortune 500, last year had more than $48 billion in revenue.)
Anderson declined to disclose revenues for Cyber Monday, but he says that it was the biggest online sales day in the history of Wal-Mart. It capped a bustling shopping period that Wal-Mart in a press release describes as "the highest five-day stretch in online sales for the retailer to date."