The mammoth retailer has added new leadership to steer its efforts to transform the shopping experience and explore the world of retail technology.
Walmart announced on June 3 that is has appointed Scott Eckert to head Store No. 8, its investment arm and start-up incubator, as Senior Vice President, Next Generation Retail. A former Bain Capital executive, Eckert will focus on partnering with retail start-ups, venture capitalists and entrepreneurs to expand Walmart’s e-commerce business.
Eckert replaces Lori Flees, who has had dual responsibility for running Store No. 8 while serving as Senior Vice President of Health and Wellness at Sam’s Club, Walmart’s retail warehouse chain. She will continue in the latter executive role.
Store No. 8, aptly based in Silicon Valley, works with tech start-ups specializing in various forms of retail technology, broadly encompassing robotics, virtual reality (VR), augmented reality, machine learning and AI, Reuters reports. It has launched several start-ups, including JetBlack, a same-day delivery service that allows customers to place orders using a text message and Spatial& from Spatialand, a VR start-up Walmart acquired in 2018.
Eckert has a background in tech start-ups as well as venture capital. Prior to his stint at Bain, where he advised chief executives on new investments and portfolio companies, he was President and CEO of Rethink Robotics, a start-up which he grew through venture financing, scaled, and sold. Other executive roles he has held include SVP, Home Entertainment at RealNetworks and Managing Director at Dell. He also previously headed tech start-up Motion Computing as President and CEO.
Eckert has “built companies, raised substantial venture capital and brought disruptive technologies to market,” said Marc Lore, CEO of Walmart eCommerce U.S., to whom Eckert will report. “He has a record of turning innovative ideas into successful businesses and building them to scale, either within large organizations or as stand-alone companies,” Lore added.