The Idea: “We are in the wake of a massive cultural shift, creating uncertainty, new competitive threats, and huge growth opportunities. Are you selling to Amazon or selling on Amazon, and what’s your philosophy to protect your Walmart business?” That was the opening idea shared this year at The IMPACT Forum, the day prior to NACDS Total Store Expo in Denver. The forum featured six thought leaders who shared strategies on building a thriving Amazon and Walmart business ecosystem. The following are some of the insights shared:
Bryan Gildenberg, Kantar Retail’s Chief Knowledge Officer, spoke about retailing shifts occurring in the United States. Gildenberg shared that Amazon has made us all uncomfortable, and that growth will only occur if organizations take a much wider view of the competitive playing field. We must all transition from observing to experimenting, especially with new categories and channels, and from coaching to teaching. Highly agile teams are required to move into the future.
Sam Gagliardi, IRI’s Head of E-Commerce, spoke of the Walmart and Amazon shopper profiles, including the secrets of thriving with Amazon while concurrently growing your Walmart business. Both consumer groups share many of the same attributes, but Walmart’s investment in the store experience and alternative fulfillment options means brands have to think about the platforms differently. Do you understand the slight variations your brand offers?
Chris Perry, Vice President of Outreach and Education for One Click Retail, passionately discussed the blind spots of balancing Amazon pricing and promotion within the broader U.S. landscape. Perry offered new intelligence insights and implications to competitively succeed in a hypercompetitive world. When prices are falling on Amazon don’t blame Amazon: look in the mirror. Price gravity is often caused by poor retail customer management, not by Amazon.
Zac Bensinger, Divisional Merchandising Manager of Health and Wellness at Walmart US eCommerce, presented a blueprint on how to create disruptive growth on Walmart.com and Jet.com. Bensinger shared the mindset needed to thrive, and how the best brands act differently when collaborating with Walmart. He suggested that organizations model themselves after digitally native vertical brands, that have been built through a digital-first mentality. Are you benchmarking the right type of competitors?
Melissa Burdick, President of Pacvue, shared with the forum audience the DNA of the very best Amazon partnerships. The top brands optimize their Amazon business while protecting their Walmart relationship and limiting channel conflicts. Burdick shared the power of creating internal “Black-Op’s Teams” that lead fast-moving, unique product initiatives. These flexible teams are free to move quickly and without boundaries, while innovating and addressing competitive threats.
John Denny, Vice President of Digital E-Commerce at CAVU Ventures, shared his personal story of building the Bai brand through a digital-first strategy. Denny shared a comprehensive template for how new product launches have changed, and how Bai outperformed many larger and better financed brands. Bai is a case study on how to fully commit to a digital strategy and the value of “real time” adaptation to consumer feedback.
Digital leaders in every industry dominate their competition by a wide margin. The digital leaders more than double the performance of the laggards in their industries. Yet competitive advantages rarely last, and some of the industry’s most agile brands look for an edge at the Impact Forum.