Walmart to Challenge Amazon’s Market Leadership on E-Books

a man reading an e-bookWalmart upped the ante on its bid to narrow Amazon’s lead in the U.S. e-Commerce sector, as the former plans to embark on selling e-books and audiobooks for the first time in late 2018.

The move will be an uphill climb for Walmart, since Amazon already has a strong foothold on the business. The retail giant began its journey to achieve its status by being an online bookseller.

Partnership Matters

Despite the seemingly challenging environment, Walmart intends to rely on its partnership with Japanese e-commerce firm Rakuten. The pair will not only sell e-books to American shoppers, but also market Rakuten’s Kobo e-readers. The platform resembles Amazon’s Kindle device.

Their partnership, however, may have been long overdue. An Author Earnings report in 2017 showed that Amazon already accounts for around 80% of e-book sales in the U.S. While it may seem unlikely for now to defeat Amazon in this segment, Walmart may get some of the market shares. The company may also partner with other overseas retailers to strengthen its efforts in keeping up with Amazon.

Chinese Player

JD.com Inc. plans to rely on Walmart for its expansion drive in the country. The Chinese e-commerce firm plans to debut in Los Angeles, as it already seeks funding for a logistics center. Walmart owns a stake in JD.

The U.S. retailer’s business ties with several foreign companies may do little to alarm Amazon, but it should be a reminder for smaller online retailers. If your business fails to adopt certain strategies, such as retail consumer financing or effective marketing campaigns, your brand may further lose resonance among customers.

Walmart’s decision to venture into the online bookselling business will benefit shoppers, as increased business rivalry often means competitive prices for products. On the other hand, the plan should be a reminder for smaller businesses to figure out how to retain customers.