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Sarah Halzack

Walmart Is Beating Amazon in a Business Worth $35 Billion

Big-box retailers are leading in click-and-collect services such as grocery pickup, and the gap may only widen.

Amazon’s click-and collect strategy looks fuzzier than rivals’.

Amazon’s click-and collect strategy looks fuzzier than rivals’.

Photographer: David Ryder/Bloomberg

On a number of fronts in online shopping, Inc.’s strategy is clear and brutally effective. It is gunning for more dollars in high-margin categories such as home goods with a growing catalog of private-label items. It’s offering two-hour delivery in some markets, a speedy service few retailers are in position to match. And its popular, voice-activated Alexa devices and software have put it at the center of the emerging trend of shopping via virtual assistants.

There is one important area, though, where Amazon’s strategy looks much fuzzier: Click-and-collect. This hybrid of online and physical shopping is proving popular, and it could potentially prove a costly mistake for Amazon that it hasn’t moved more quickly to get a piece of the action.