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Walmart reportedly names new COO of e-commerce

Dive Brief:

  • Walmart has promoted a Sam’s Club executive to be its new COO for U.S. e-commerce, according to reports in Bloomberg and CNBC. Walmart did not immediately respond to Retail Dive’s request for comment.
  • Taking on the role is Jamie Iannone, current CEO of and executive vice president of membership and technologyIannone came to Walmart in 2014. The company credited him with helping to boost the digital business and membership of Sam’s Club, according to CNBC.
  • In the role, according to reports, he will oversee Walmart’s e-commerce groups, including its third-party marketplace and its Store No. 8 incubator. He reports to Walmart U.S. e-commerce chief Marc Lore and John Furner, CEO of Walmart U.S.

Dive Insight:

Iannone’s promotion is the latest move in a broad reorganization of Walmart’s e-commerce operations, which have made progress in recent years but not without hiccups and reported internal tensions. 

Most recently, the company told employees that it was merging its digital and in-store buying teams after years of siloed operations. To lead the integration, the company appointed Chandra Holt, formerly COO of Sam’s Club. She will serve as chief merchandising and integration officer for Walmart e-commerce, reporting to recently installed Chief Merchandising Officer Scott McCall. 

That followed other management shifts as the company adopts an omnichannel operational strategy. In July, Walmart united all supply chain functions under one leader (Executive Vice President of Supply Chain Greg Smith) with the aim of creating “one, seamless Walmart experience.”

The company has also, notably, pulled back on its Jet unit, the e-commerce site co-founded by Lore that Walmart acquired for a blockbuster price in 2016. Some of the hip digital brands the company bolted on to its Jet offering have laid off staff, and Walmart has already sold one of them — ModCloth. As for Jet itself, Walmart has drastically reduced its marketing spending on the site and also eliminated its dedicated executive. The company has also canceled its high-end text-based shopping service Jet Black, after reportedly trying to sell or spin it off.

These moves came amid reports that Walmart was still losing gobs of money on e-commerce and that there was internal tension around the resources going to unprofitable tech initiatives.

Sales on Jet have plummeted with the reduced marketing spending. Over the course of two years between September 2017 and September 2019, traffic to Jet fell by around 93%, according to Gartner L2. At the same time, Walmart has refocused its resources on and its omnichannel push.

Walmart’s digital sales are growing overall — though it is still light-years behind Amazon. And the company has acknowledged that it needs to broaden its digital sales beyond the low-margin grocery category, which has done much to drive the retailer’s online growth.

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