Walmart announced today at a meeting with analysts that it is opening two new fulfillment centers in the U.S. as it ramps up its e-commerce operations.
The company holds the title of being the world’s largest retailer because of its brick and mortar retail stores, but increasingly, more of its growth is coming from online.
During its most recent fiscal year, e-commerce sales have increased by 30 percent to over $10 billion, a highlight in the company that has otherwise seen five straight quarters of sales declines in its U.S. stores division.
As part of the announcement today, Walmart said the two new large-scale fulfillment centers will be located in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania and Atlanta, Georgia. Each one will be about 1.2 million square feet. The company already has similar centers in Texas, Indiana and Pennsylvania that ship online orders to customers across the country.
Walmart has a complex distribution network that not only includes fulfillment centers, but also uses some of its 4,300 stores across the U.S. Customers can also shop online and pick-up purchases in the store. It also has 150 distribution centers, but those primarily serve its physical stores, not individual online orders.
Still, it’s hard not to believe that it has a ways to go if it aspires to one day be as large as Amazon, which has annual online revenues of $60.9 billion.
According to recent estimates by ChannelAdvisor, Amazon has nearly 100 fulfillment centers across the U.S. that enable the e-commerce giant to quickly and efficiently ship pretty much anything to your home.
Walmart is not just investing in its infrastructure, but also in the shopping experience. In August, it unveiled a homepage redesign that featured new product recommendations based on previous purchases and faster payment methods that will get you to the buy page in one click.
Neil Ashe, the president and CEO of Global E-Commerce for Walmart, appeared at the GeekWire Summit earlier this month to discuss how the retailer’s ambitions online. While doing so, he also poked a little fun at Amazon.