Walmart International CEO Judith McKenna discusses digital shopping trends in China and India

With same-day delivery apps, cryptocurrencies, and other trendy tech innovations, you can feel as if shopping has been completely redefined by digital technology. But according to Walmart International President and CEO Judith McKenna, consumers in the United States will soon find their shopping experience even more transformative thanks to technology. For a glimpse of what’s to come, she says, just look to India and China.

McKenna, speaking at Luck’s Most Powerful Women Summit in Laguna Niguel, California this week. “We have learned a lot from our Chinese market,” she said.

McKenna emphasized that China is the most advanced country in terms of consumer adoption of digital shopping tools, and the US will follow its path in adopting e-commerce as the default for goods. goods like groceries.

For example, Chinese online shopping giant Alibaba dominated e-commerce context, providing an online retail experience similar to Amazon. In 2016, Jack Ma, founder of Alibaba, coined the term “New Retail” to describe the integration of online shopping tools with in-person purchases so that the ordering, payment and and even the production of goods are all part of a company’s vertical. Alibaba has opened 300 grocery stores in 27 Chinese cities since 2016. Walmart and Amazon now both have made breakthroughs into grocery businesses to create a similar “New Retail” experience for their customers.

Digital payment apps that allow users to pay for goods with their phones are also set to become a much larger part of the shopping experience. McKenna points to PhonePe, a popular app in India that allows users to pay in stores using the app and send money to others. According to McKenna, PhonePe processes about 3.1 billion transactions per month in India.

WeChat, China’s instant messaging app, has become the world’s largest mobile app with over a billion users. However, WeChat is more than just a messaging tool — it was developed to be a digital payment app, so users can make purchases on the platform.

In the US, Walmart has rolled out its own digital payment app, Walmart Pay. “The way to adopt digital as a way of payment is safe, secure, easy and all is well there,” she explains about digital payments. “It’s all connected to a cell phone number,” she explains.

While grocery deliveries have increased in the US during the pandemic, McKenna says all signs point to even greater consumer acceptance of such services in the future. future. “Customers want good prices, and they want good quality, but they really want [goods] whenever they want,” she said.

During more than two decades at Walmart, Mckenna has gained important insights into the strategic balance between global growth and local focus.

It is especially important at a time when consumers have access to a wide selection of digital tools and services. The Internet allows businesses to serve customers anywhere in the world. But McKenna stressed that businesses still need to have a local approach to their customers. “The way we think about local versus global is that the closer you are to the customer, the more local you have to be,” she explains. “That’s where you need your tailoring,” she says.

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