Wal-Mart has launched a new internal venture — Store No. 8 — meant to create new online business. Store No. 8 will help Wal-Mart build new startups within the company, fostering relationships with entrepreneurs, particularly those in the fields of artificial intelligence, autonomous vehicles and other emerging technologies. This will, in turn, help the retailer grow its e-commerce business.
Total Retail’s Take: Store No. 8 is similar to other companies’ corporate venture arms. However, rather than simply investing in existing ventures, the new division is intended to help create new startups. Wal-Mart has been trying to revamp its e-commerce business, acquiring Jet.com last year and Modcloth last week. Wal-Mart has a long history of being dominant in the physical world of retail, but has fallen behind Amazon.com when it comes to e-commerce. Store No. 8 will help Wal-Mart strike strategic partnerships with startups and promising young e-commerce companies that figures to help the traditional store-based retailer grow its digital business.