John Fleming spent five years running Walmart.com before taking on the job as chief marketing officer for all of Wal-Mart, which has 6,500 stores, more than 60,000 U.S. suppliers, 176 million in-store customers every week and 1.8 million employees worldwide. However, Walmart.com is merely a small blip in the over picture. Speaking at AMD's Global Vision Conference, Fleming said that his former roost is more of tool to drive loyalty than a key engine of commerce. Despite the fact that Walmart.com generates a fraction of Amazon's annual revenue, Fleming said the rival online superstore is "meaningless" to Wal-Mart, which generates over $300 billion in revenue year--compared to Amazon's $10 billion. With online accounting for less than one percent of revenue Wal-Mart can treat cyberspace as marketing tool.
Fleming said that his experience at Walmart.com taught him the value of the customer experience, such as placing buying guides on the relevant product pages rather than on a front door. He is taking those lessons into the physical stores. "We are taking the same thought process into the stores, with layouts, adjacencies and navigation," Fleming said. "We have a TV network in store, an in the past we ran ads to give cusomers information. Now we are moving the TVs to the shelves and have specific product information that relates to what customers are doing in their shopping experience." He added, "Time is the currency for customers. Stores can be chaotic. We are finding ways to improve the [shopping] experience using the online channel."