Walmart is beefing up its ecommerce operations on several fronts via cross-border commerce, metaverse investments and a new executive. The retail giant announced that it is encouraging Indian retailers to join its U.S. marketplace, while CNBC has reported that the company plans to create its own cryptocurrency and collection of NFTs. The Wall Street Journal has reported that Tom Ward, currently SVP of Last Mile, will take over as President and CEO of U.S. Ecommerce in February 2022.
The invitation to Indian retailers will initially include only a select number of participants, adding to existing merchants including Delphi Leather India, Mahi Exports, Touchstone Gems & Jewelry and Welspun. India is already one of Walmart’s top sourcing markets, and the retailer’s new goal is to sell $10 billion in goods from the country annually by 2027.
A dedicated Cross Border Trade team has been set up in India to help sellers onboard and grow on the platform. The team also will help Indian sellers meet standards for creating new international product lines and enhance their capabilities in packaging, marketing and supply chain management.
Additionally, selected sellers can utilize Walmart Fulfillment Services to take advantage of Walmart’s warehousing and delivery infrastructure in the U.S. The platform includes tools to help streamline operations and manage promotions and feedback. Walmart also will work with sellers to provide them with U.S. customer insights, global supply chain best practices and business planning strategies.
Walmart’s metaverse plans reportedly include a cryptocurrency and an NFT collection, according to CNBC. The company filed several new trademarks with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office in late December 2021 for the production and sale of virtual goods, including electronics, home decorations, toys, sporting goods and personal care products. A virtual currency and NFTs were included in another filing; in total, seven applications were submitted.
Walmart told CNBC that it is “continuously exploring how emerging technologies may shape future shopping experiences,” but declined to comment on the specific trademark filings. “We are testing new ideas all the time,” the company said. “Some ideas become products or services that make it to customers. And some we test, iterate and learn from.”
Regardless of whether (or when) the metaverse plans come to fruition, Walmart’s digital operations will have a new leader in Tom Ward, according to an internal memo seen by The Wall Street Journal. Current President and CEO of U.S. Ecommerce Casey Carl is expected to leave at the end of February, a little over a year after he took the position.
Ward currently leads Walmart’s omnichannel efforts, which include using stores as last mile hubs. He is currently overseeing the plan to expand InHome delivery service to 30 million households in 2022 as the retail giant hires more than 3,000 associate delivery drivers and equips them with a fleet of electric delivery vans.