E-commerce won Black Friday weekend. Now Walmart really has to compete on Amazon’s turf.


All roads lead to Seattle.

If it wasn’t already clear, this Thanksgiving weekend proves it: Walmart’s future runs through Amazon.com.

For the first time ever, millions more shoppers shopped online than in stores during Thanksgiving and Black Friday weekend, signaling a tipping of the scales that’s unlikely to reverse course anytime soon.

According to the National Retail Federation, 44 percent of Americans surveyed this weekend said they shopped online during Thanksgiving weekend compared with only 40 percent who shopped in brick-and-mortar stores.

Seeing where things were headed, Walmart was more aggressive than in the past on assortment and pricing leading into the holiday season. The retailer was beating Amazon on 20 percent of top-selling toys that both companies sold, and matched its prices on another 35 percent.

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Walmart’s aggressiveness online will only become more crucial going forward. The company spent $3.3 billion to acquire Jet.com and its CEO Marc Lore, who is now heading up Walmart.com as well.

Lore will be expected to turn Walmart’s stores and supply chain expertise into a real advantage over Amazon. He’s also tasked with building on Jet’s unique pricing models to help Walmart.com compete even better with Amazon on price.

While online sales account for only 3 percent of Walmart’s total revenue, the acquisition of Jet by Walmart CEO Doug McMillon said a lot about how the Arkansas-based retailer views the sales channel going forward. By this time next year, when e-commerce is playing an even bigger role in holiday shopping industry-wide, we’ll have a better idea if the acquisition was worth it.

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