(Bloomberg)—If you’re in the market for a yoga mat this holiday season, Marc Lore has a deal for you.
The Wal-Mart Stores Inc. executive, who runs the chain’s U.S. online business, is taking on a second job as a salesman for the mats on Walmart.com.
U.S. chief technology officer Jeremy King, meanwhile, is working on pitching abdominal-toning machines. And the e-commerce unit’s chief revenue officer, Scott Hilton, is overseeing exercise balls.
They’ve been locked in a 90-day contest since Oct. 5 to see who can improve the performance of their assigned product category. The idea is to throw the executives into the trenches during the holiday season, giving them a better sense of how they can challenge Amazon.com Inc., No. 1 in the Internet Retailer 2017 Top 500, in the cutthroat world of e-commerce.
They’ve been working alongside the regular category specialists, helping to make the staff more efficient in their roles.
“It’s fun, but it also gets us to understand a day in the life of merchants,” King said in an interview.
The contest comes amid a recruitment drive at Walmart’s online business, which has been revitalized since the company acquired Lore’s startup Jet.com last year. E-commerce sales have grown by at least 60% in recent quarters, helping the retailer chip away at Amazon’s dominance. Walmart (No. 3), will give an update on its progress when it reports third-quarter results Nov. 16.
Archimedes Stuk, a senior director of retail analytics at Walmart, will determine the winner of the contest—based on measures like sales, assortment and overall customer experience.
What will the victor get? “Respect,” King said.