Marc Lore, Walmart

walmart marc loreThe August 14 edition of HOMEWORLD BUSINESS® revealed the 12th annual “Players,” people to watch in housewares during the next 12 months.

Selected by HomeWorld Business editors, the Players represent a cross section of a diverse housewares business— from established to newly installed company leaders; from large to small operations, from big-box to specialty retailers; from trade show managers to celebrity endorsers.

The HomeWorld Players are in the spotlight not only for how they might impact their respective organizations in the coming months, but also for how they might impact the overall housewares business.

Marc Lore, Walmart, President and CEO, E-Commerce U.S.

PLAYER’S CREDENTIALS: Marc Lore has a long pedigree in online retailing, with a focus on commodity products, but now he’s taking what he learned about selling low-margin merchandise digitally and looking at how he can use it to boost Walmart’s online growth. He’s known as the founder and CEO of Jet.com. Before that, Lore was co-founder and CEO of Quidsi, which operated diapers.com and other online commodity-product storefronts. Amazon purchased Quidsi in 2010 and Lore remained there until 2013 when he left to start Jet. Walmart purchased Jet last year. In the aftermath, Walmart appointed Lore to head up its U.S. digital commerce operation.

WHAT TO WATCH: Lore sometimes gets characterized as Jeff Bezos’ nemesis after he battled with Amazon at Quidsi, then mounted a challenge to the dominance of its models with Jet. Walmart is hoping that Lore turns out to be a successful nemesis so that it can finally gain ground on its online competitor. So far, the Lore-helmed Walmart operation has grown through acquisitions, most recently adding Bonobos. It has also developed e-commerce synergies across its portfolio as well as bundling techniques designed to lower per-transaction costs, which could leverage delivery costs. At the same time, Walmart is expanding its order online pick-up curbside grocery and consumables service.

Walmart’s go-forward strategy online under Lore has been to acquire companies that bring new customers and knowledge on board while opening up retail horizons that it can’t reach with the main Walmart.com platform. At the same time, Lore is applying strategies from Jet.com and its subsidiary Hayneedle.com to provide more unique propositions to consumers that have at least the prospect of profitability and to use the stores to boost the online-based services.

PERSPECTIVE: If it can make gains on its digital initiatives, Lore is likely to succeed. If Walmart.com performance declines, the blame is likely to land on his doorstep.

“We’ve moved at the speed of a startup. We’ve completely restructured the organization. We’ve got two separate brands, Walmart.com and Jet.com. We’ve been able to push Jet.com to go after the higher income urban Millennial. Walmart is focused on everybody else,” said Lore.

2018 HomeWorld Business Players (click on name for profile):