Experts Weigh In On Walmart's Purchase of E-Commerce Retailer Moosejaw

By Jamie Grill-Goodman — February 16, 2017

Walmart has acquired online outdoor retailer Moosejaw for approximately $51 million, adding the retailer to the Walmart U.S. eCommerce organization.

Moosejaw is a online active outdoor retailer with a large web presence as well as 10 physical stores. Founded in 1992 in Michigan, Moosejaw carries more than 400 brands, including Patagonia, The North Face, Marmot, Arc’teryx and more. They have an extensive assortment of apparel and gear for climbing, hiking, camping, snow sports, yoga, swimming and biking.

Moosejaw will continue to operate its site and stores as it has in the past, and will be run as a standalone and complementary brand to Walmart's other e-commerce sites.

"Moosejaw has built a credible and unique voice in the outdoor marketplace, with a younger, loyal customer base," explained Sarah Engel, SVP of Global Marketing, DynamicAction. "It will be paramount for Moosejaw to protect that brand resonance and keep closely in tune with their customers by utilizing their customer data across channels."

Walmart has already said Moosejaw CEO Eoin Comerford, his executive team, and Moosejaw’s 350-plus employees will continue to be based in Michigan.

"Authenticity and experience are key drivers for consumer behavior," said Jon Beck, CEO, Columbus Consulting International.  "Acquiring Moosejaw, and then maintaining its corporate culture allows Moosejaw to scale without immediate marketplace rejection/perception that they’ve ’sold out.' It also gives Walmart the opportunity to study the brand and learn how it has attracted and retained its customers. Over time, integration into Walmart's vast supply chain will ultimately lead to greater efficiencies, lower cost and better, more timely deliveries for consumers."

Walmart said Moosejaw's expertise will help it further enhance its customer experience, while Moosejaw suppliers that are interested in expanding their consumer reach will now have the opportunity to serve more customers through Jet.com and Walmart's other e-commerce sites.

"While the synergies between the two companies may not appear immediately obvious, perhaps Walmart's acquisition is aimed more at showing a larger percent of online revenue for Walmart’s total revenue, given the growth figures for online e-commerce," said Adrien Nussenbaum, U.S. CEO and co-founder, Mirakl.

"You have a few market factors that make this acquisition particularly interesting: Warren Buffett dumping millions in Walmart stock this week makes it more vital than ever for Walmart to prove quickly that its acquisition strategy is paying off," said Engel. "Additionally, the outdoor apparel industry is in upheaval, between Bass Pro’s acquisition of Cabela’s and the bankruptcy filings of Eastern Mountain Sports. Leveraging Wal-mart’s technology stack and efficiencies on the back-end to grow Moosejaw has a number of potential pitfalls along the way, but if done well could result in Walmart emerging as a true competitor in a currently disjointed market. A puzzle that not even Amazon has solved." 

The acquisition closed February 13.

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