It’s been claimed that 90 percent of Americans can find a Walmart retailer within 10 miles of where they live. In 2017, it was revealed that nearly 95 percent of Americans have purchased at least one item at Walmart.
Walmart is the largest company in terms of revenue, the biggest retailer in the world, and also the largest private employer. Walmart employs over 2.2 million employees across the US. It generated an astounding $600 billion in profits in 2022 and staggering revenue of $9 billion and has a 47 percent market share of wholesale retail transactions in the world.
In 1962, the company was established by the entrepreneur of the past, Sam Walton, Walmart is currently present in 25 countries and has 11,000 stores, in addition to its massive online presence, which has an average monthly traffic of one billion.
In the blog that follows, iTechnolabs will discuss some interesting information about how Walmart can please more than half a billion customers every month through a brief review of its system’s layout, backend, and IT infrastructure.
Let’s start by giving an introduction to Walmart’s website and online presence.
Walmart Delights: Online Presence
Okay, maybe not as huge as Amazon, however, Walmart has a huge online presence and also has millions of customers and online shoppers who purchase their goods through Walmart.com as well as their mobile app.
Walmart Mobile App
Between 300 and 550 million people go to Walmart.com as well as their mobile apps each month. (December 2021 data)
According to Investing.com, the Walmart mobile app sold $14 billion worth of goods during the twelve months of 2022, which amounts to 2.3 percent of its total revenue. Within the US, Walmart.com and its mobile application have snatched the 6.3 percent market share of all e-commerce sales.
Evolution Of Walmart.com
Walmart.com was launched in 2000. However, the management wasn’t thinking too about the potential of online sales until the year 2016, when they purchased Jet.com and boosted their online presence with just one step.
Then, Walmart started acquiring various major e-commerce giants in various nations (which includes the purchase of Flipkart in India at $16 billion)
Over 50 million items on Walmart.com and the mobile app include products that are marketed and sold by Walmart as well as a separate section on Walmart Marketplace that allows third-party sellers to sell their goods.
For Walmart’s online marketplace, Home, Books, Jewelry, and Electronics are the four largest product categories which include more than 30 million items that are listed under them.
About 150,000 sellers are listed in the Walmart Marketplace.
In the past, Walmart has adapted, changed, and redesigned its mobile and website intending to provide better-designed and personalized items for customers. For instance, in September 2022, Walmart launched “Choose Your Own Model” for online customers who are shopping for clothing, in which customers could select a model to see how the particular item will appear on their body.
A little bit of innovation here, but okay!
Walmart’s Big Push For 10X Growth: Turbocharged Cloud
In 2020 Walmart’s system engineers and developers transformed the performance and capacity of their platforms online through the transformation of these into cloud-native architecture platforms.
Initially, the Walmart mobile app was based on Commercial-off-the-shelf (COTS) monolith software, which couldn’t scale, and proved to be quite expensive as well.
Through the adaptation to a turbocharged Native Cloud technology, Walmart was able to increase their PVM (Page views per minute) as well as OPM (Orders per minute) by 10x and save a significant amount of time and money.
- Walmart took advantage of the scale and the power of Cloud computing, deploying Azure as well as Google Cloud Platform.
- Critical processes like Catalog Search, Cart Checkout Promotion, Payment Inventory Return, Order, and Catalog were separated and managed using Microservices to enable Containerised deployments managed by the Kubernetes platform.
- NoSQL databases were developed with features including the absence of the shared state, unlimited scalability caching when required, and a multi-region active-active deployment topology.
- From containers to databases, auto-scale was able to be used
- A more resilient system that is free of outages and errors for the user
- The service architecture owned by a single team or STOSA
- A massive automation system for system redesign as well as optimization and monitoring
Important Article: 15 Ways to Improve Your Fashion eCommerce Website with iTechnolabs
How Walmart Deployed Horizontal Scalability
For smooth performance and speedier checkouts, Walmart engineers deployed Horizontal Scalability with advanced features, including Stateless processing that is synchronously caching, autoscaling, and high-performance NoSQL database along with multi-region deployment.
The customers of the Walmart mobile app can now enjoy quicker checkouts using Asynchronous processing frameworks such as Webflux, CompletableFuture, and Async HTTP Clients.
Autoscaling Using Kubernetes
To ensure that the website and app can cope with a sudden increase in traffic; Walmart’s engineering team deployed Horizontal pod auto-scaler rules to ensure auto-scalability. As traffic increases the new nodes and pods are automatically added to the system and can handle the load.
Scalability Push: Transition From RDBMS To NoSQL
The previous Walmart portals and applications were built on RDBMS which contained thousands of rules and tables which caused the system to slow down and stopped users from enjoying a pleasant experience.
Walmart modified this by installing Azure Cosmos DB as well as the NoSQL backend. This ensured:
- Horizontal scalability
- The global distribution of information
- Schema-less database to support world-scale
With the new Cloud-based backend, Walmart can achieve less than 10 ms latency for 99 percent of their calls. They also have incredible consistency in providing what customers want at the time they need it.
Sharp Monitoring & Observability
Walmart engineers have set up a centralized Splunk cluster to aggregate and search and Prometheus for the store for metrics as well as Graffana for the dashboards, to ensure that they can observe and track each aspect of the design and user experience and make the necessary changes to increase the performance of the system.
Their brand-new internal built dashboard contains the following data:
- The dashboard is a dedicated one to Kubernetes
- Consumption of CPU/Memory at the Pod level
- Level-Pod Tomcat thread status
- The Garbage collection at the Pod level
- Circuit breaker status
- Response time (Avg 95P, 95P)
- HTTP status codes for errors
- Response time, Availability, Errors
In the course of adapting Native Cloud and related technologies for performance and scalability, Walmart was able to not only improve performance but also cut costs. Here’s a graphic of the financial benefits of using the Cloud as presented by Siddharth Panadoik (Head of Architecture, Platforms & Data) at Walmart..
Related Article: 5 Crucial Features of an eCommerce Fashion Store That Are Often Missed
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