Walmart is pulling out all the stops in the race for retail domination, from acquiring brands that appeal to millennials to just emulating them entirely. The corporation is reportedly launching a basic clothing line that looks a lot like Everlane, the minimalist millennial favorite, but at the lower price point it’s known for. However, while imitation and lower prices could draw a crowd, they might not be enough to keep it.
Amazon has extinguished many single-category retailers, but others have been taking steps to match the e-tailer’s level of convenience and customization. As many as 79% of brands in Gartner L2’s Digital IQ Index: Big Box offer some form of personalization on their site homepage, and 67% of brands with stores promote store events or services on site. However, Walmart falls behind when it comes to presentation, with relatively sparse and visually unappealing product pages for its private label products.
This isn’t the first time Walmart has made efforts to match the convenience and customization of other successful brands. Following its acquisition of Jet, Walmart went on a buying spree, racking up brands like Moosejaw, Bonobos, and Parcel in response to Amazon’s acquisition overload. It also responded to the e-tailer by introducing an Express Mobile Returns program, which promises to simplify in-store returns for online orders by letting customers start the process on their mobile phones, and announced a partnership with Lord & Taylor to add a luxury twist to its basic offering.
In the past, adopting more mobile tools and digital features to ensure a smooth online experience helped Walmart get a leg up. However, if the retailer wants its new line to effectively arm it in the age of Amazon, it will need an aesthetic boost on digital as well as in stores.