Walmart is the largest multinational retailer in the world (4,000 stores in the U.S., 200 in China). Digital marketing is a challenge for such a company with mostly lower and middle class clients. Walmart cannot - will not -give up digital media. How will a company whose core of business is mass market (FMCG) break away from mass media. How will the transition take place? The creation of Walmart Labs in Silicon Valley (not far from Googleplex) in April 2011 is a visible sign of a decisive change.
Walmart faces three different and interconnected challenges:
Updated April 30, 2012
- From DVD to VOD
|Sam's Club app for iPhone|
By the way, Walmart shut down its online music store in August.
- From DVD to the Cloud
- From Walmart TV to Smart Network and digital signage
- Smartphones and in-store marketing
- About apps and retail: see our post "Digital Grocery Shopping".
|iPhone app for a Walmart store in |
Iron Montain (Wisconsin)
To go further into digital, Walmart bought Kosmix (social media, April 2011) and seems to be testing Shopycat, an app using social profiles to make recommendations.
Kosmix is known for a platform called "Social Genome" which analyzes purchase and surfing data to improve personalization and recommendations. In September, Walmart acquired OneRiot which will become part of Walmart Labs. OneRiot describes itself as a "Social Targeting Engine" developing a "Social Geo Census Database". Later, Walmart bought three startups specialized in mobile marketing and retail: Small Society, Grabble and Set Direction.
Along the same lines and at the same time, Walmart has invested in two large Chinese e-commerce companies (B2C), Yihaodian (于1号店 ) and 360buy.
Recently, Wallmark launched a localized Facebook app, "My Local Walmart". Customers can download a a store map and receive news concerning their local store: events; savings, etc.
In March 2012, Walmart bought Social Calendar, a Facebook app (birthday reminders, virtual greetings, etc.).
Get on the shelf: @WalmartLabs has launched a contest in order to determine which items should be available on the Walmart shelves, crowd sourcing suggestions for product listing. People vote with videos.
To conclude, for the time being: Walmart going digital opens (or reopens) four major issues:
- EDLP strategies (Every Day Low Price) and/or member cards (for personalized EDLP, "EDLP for me"): which is best and when?
- Online and offline strategies, online and offline data. Online marketing is now in line with store marketing, both kinds of data can be merged. At Walmart, e-commerce is no longer independant from offline commerce. Since September, online commerce reports to offline store management.
- Social networking is a growing part of Walmart's strategy
- How to take advantage of such fantastic data?