Transformation is a process not an event

I'm reminded (again) recently that "transformation is a process not an event." In my mind, analogous to wine fermentation.

No doubt as a consumer you're aware of the transformation underway from brick-n-mortar to online.

Recently, a storied retailer took another step on the transformation journey by re-branding.

In case you missed it, Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. will be re-branding to the shorter Walmart Inc. to reflect recent demographic changes. The transition away from traditional stores to competing online with Amazon.

The re-branding is a subtle change though a significant one. As you know by now, retailing is very definitely a repetition based impressions business.

"…shop us however you like as a customer" said the CEO Doug McMillon. Embracing change. Adapting. 

In recent years, Apple Computer Inc became Apple Inc. as the product mix shifted solely from computers to include tablets, smartphones and the Apple eco-system.   

Lifting the veil on a few supporting facts in the Walmart Inc. business case for transformation:

  • Presently 11,700 store footprint globally
  • Opened in 1962 as Walmart
  • Wal-Mart Stores Inc. when it went public
  • Storefronts still account for 95% of Walmart revenue
  • Strategy has shifted from pouring millions into new stores into improving existing stores and embracing an enhanced online shopping experience
  • Recognizing that the last mile of door-to-door freight delivery is expensive, note the recent introduction of "in store pick-up kiosks" triggered by the QSR code from your online order. A hybrid solution of sorts yet an attempt to leverage their massive infrastructure investment while straddling the cost conscious internet shopper. Shrewd.
  • Walmart Inc. purchased Jet Inc. (large ecommerce retailing platform) for $3.3B last year. Consolidation.
  • Same store sales rose the fastest in a decade in the most recent quarter. Anomaly?
  • Expand cost cutting and opening only 2 dozen new stores in 2018, the lowest number in 25 years

"Whether it is in our store, on our sites, with our apps, by using their voice or whatever comes next" said Mr. McMillon.

Transformation is a process not an event. The only constant is change. Think about it.