WINNING IN EVERYTHING, EVERYWHERE TO EVERYONE: AN ANALYSIS OF WAL-MART AND AMAZON’S ROAD TO SUCCESS

Open Access
Author:
Calderaro, Alexandra Hana
Area of Honors:
Supply Chain and Information Systems
Degree:
Bachelor of Science
Document Type:
Thesis
Thesis Supervisors:
  • Robert A. Novack, Thesis Supervisor
  • John C. Spychalski, Honors Advisor
Keywords:
  • Walmart
  • Amazon
  • omnichannel
  • ecommerce
  • retail
  • transportation
  • distribution
  • comparison
  • innovation
Abstract:
The purpose of this thesis is to explore the triumphs and struggles of retail companies adopting an omni-channel presence. In a climate of increased customer demands, current retail giants are forced to push previous boundaries in product assortment, speed of service, and supply chain innovation. Two companies particularly susceptible to changing market expectations are Wal-Mart and Amazon. In the quest to become the largest player in retail, each entity is experimenting in online and physical environments, causing much speculation as to who will “win” the hearts and dollars of U.S. retail customers. To determine the likelihood of each company’s success, the historical philosophies and past practices of Wal-Mart and Amazon were analyzed. This analysis was used to compare the two companies on five key attributes that helped ascertain various sources of competitive advantage. All information was obtained through literature reviews of articles, publications, journals, and additional resources from 1962, the year of Wal-Mart’s founding, to present. This research has shown that, while Wal-Mart currently possesses a more dominant physical advantage, Amazon has proven that they will provide the necessary resources, financial and otherwise, to win the retail market in a relentless quest for domination. However, due to Amazon’s extensive external business ventures that fund its current innovations, it is necessary to question how viable it is to compare the two companies. In order to continue to compete in the retail space, Wal-Mart must work on the marriage between online and store data, whereas Amazon must better leverage logistical operations with its third-party vendors. This suggests that both companies must focus on growth areas before either can overtake the market.