Illustration of Marc Lore '93
Illustration: Joel Kimmel
Marc Lore ’93
Bend the Odds in Your Favor
President and CEO of Walmart U.S. eCommerce Marc Lore ’93 is no stranger to success — or failure, which he’s not afraid to admit. It’s all part of the game for the serial entrepreneur, who founded and served as CEO of Jet.com, growing it to a $1 billion business before selling to Walmart in 2016. Before Jet.com, he started and sold two other companies. Ever the entrepreneur, Lore created an interdisciplinary major in finance as a Bucknell student.
Q: What are some of the key attributes of a successful entrepreneur?
First, you have to have a big vision and be in relentless pursuit of it. And just work so hard, 24/7. It has an impact on all of the rest of your life — it’s very hard to be a balanced entrepreneur. You’ve got to be all in. You have to not be afraid to take risks or to fail — there’s no safe way to become an entrepreneur. You have to do some things that have a low probability of success, and then work as hard as you possibly can to try to bend the odds in your favor. If you like things to be organized, it’s not going to work. You can’t organize an entrepreneurial journey; you just gotta follow the path.
Q: Was there anything in your background that led you in this direction?
Just my dad. He was sort of street smart and entrepreneurial and would start and stop different things. When I was growing up, he failed a lot. When we kids failed, there were never any repercussions. I see some helicopter parents who don’t let their kids fail. If your parents never let you fail, then you missed out on a really big lesson in life. It’s OK to fail and fail again. Just get right back up. I always say, “Learn but don’t dwell on failure.”
Q: What is the greatest challenge in Walmart’s battle with Amazon?
Amazon has a big head start and has a big percentage of the population using Prime. The challenge is giving people a reason to shop somewhere else.
Q: As a trusted legacy brand, what are some of the advantages Walmart has over Amazon?
Our biggest asset is our brick-and-mortar stores. Walmart has 4,700 stores just in the United States, and those stores are located within reach of 90% of the U.S. population. We can deliver fresh and frozen food almost anywhere in America with Walmart prices. This is something Amazon is not as strong in.
Q: How can your ecommerce operation improve its appeal to millennials?
Millennials are pushing the bar on convenience. People just want things fast. They don’t want to wait. I think we’re set up really well to go where the buck’s headed. [In three test markets now] you can go to Walmart.com, and when you order your groceries, opt for delivery right into your refrigerator. We’ll come in and set up a security thing on your door with number codes. And you can watch somebody go into your home, because they’ll wear a video camera, and you can watch on your app as they put the groceries into your refrigerator and then leave. No packaging. You can come home from work, and your fridge is stocked. In this world of Airbnb and Uber, millennials are gonna love this. The world is changing. People say, “I would never do that.” But the younger generation thinks, “Why not?”
Q: What do you like best about your job?
Just the impact we’re able to have on people’s lives in a positive way. It’s what we’re doing for society, and all of the great work Walmart has done for the environment, and helping first responders at natural disasters. At a small company, you don’t get to see things at that sort of scale, so that’s really interesting for me.