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Walmart looks online and likes what it sees

World's biggest retailer is finding ways to link online and offline business

Walmart is king of the retail world. Now it wants to conquer the online world as well.

In a fascinating presentation at a Fortune conference this week in Aspen, Colo., Walmart officials outlined how they are expanding online sales, using existing stores as boosters for web business.

In one example, Neil Ashe, CEO of global e-commerce for Walmart, explained how, on Black Friday last year, the company held a one-hour sale on three in-demand products. If the store ran out of supply during that hour, staff fulfilled the order for customers via the web.

Ashe said that Walmart is incentivizing store managers to think about online business by making sure their store gets credit for all web sales in the surrounding zip codes.

Meanwhile, Walmart is mining Big Data like never before.

Karenann Terrell, the retailer’s chief information officer, noted that Walmart’s has “double-digit petabytes” of product data from its 120,000 suppliers. (In case you’re wondering, one petabyte of information is equal to about 20 million four-dour filing cabinets of text, according to

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