SAN FRANCISCO, United States — Wal-Mart Stores Inc. is creating a technology-startup incubator in California’s Silicon Valley to help identify changes that will reshape the retail experience in the next few years, including virtual reality, autonomous vehicle and drone delivery, and personalised shopping.
The incubator will be called Store No. 8, a reference to a Wal-Mart location where the company experimented with new store layouts. Marc Lore, chief executive officer of Wal-Mart’s e-commerce operations, announced the incubator Monday at the ShopTalk conference in Las Vegas.
The world’s biggest retailer has been overhauling its online team to better challenge Amazon.com Inc. with greater selection and lower prices. Lore founded Jet.com, which Wal-Mart purchased in September for about $3.3 billion in pursuit of Amazon in the e-commerce race.
The Store No. 8 incubator is the latest example of Lore’s influence on Wal-Mart. In January, Lore announced management changes and a new incubation and strategic-partnerships division, to be led by Seth Beal. Lore gave more details about the division, including its name and areas of focus, at the conference on Monday.
By Spencer Soper; editors: Jillian Ward, Nick Turner.