Published on: March 30, 2009Fascinating piece in Advertising Age this morning about Walmart’s online efforts as it “ramps up a host of programs to vault the chain -- which has already distanced itself from value retailers in the offline world -- further ahead in the online one.”
Walmart’s online programs are many and varied, Ad Age reports. It offers free classified ads on its site. The company has its own in-house social network for employees. It has sites that are used for giving hints about saving money, that bring together the musings and recommendations of “blogger moms,” and is selling digital music. And, Walmart even has a forum for customer reviews.
"Digital has such an amazing role in how to help people on an emotional, logical and rational level. We want to use it to our full potential to help our customers," Wanda Young, senior director-digital marketing at Walmart, tells Ad Age, adding, "We are really just getting started in digital in helping build up our brand."
- KC's View:
- A guy I know who is about as smart as anyone about online marketing recently made a couple of salient points about this segment of the business:
• “There’s a staggering figure: 25% of all the people in the U.S. visit Amazon every month. Twenty-five percent! And Walmart’s behind them – Walmart’s trying to catch up to Amazon.” This means that a battle royal is unfolding between Amazon and Walmart over who will have the most dominant digital footprint…and most retailers don't realize that they could end up being collateral damage as the battle unfolds.
This same guy also told me: “Amazon and Walmart are incredibly focused on the grocery industry. Not because I think they think they’re going to make a lot of money selling groceries. I think it’s because they’re going to loss-lead groceries so they can sell you DVDs and books and Kindles and other things that they make great margins on.”
Which is why every company – no matter how big or small – needs to focus on this space. It doesn’t matter if companies have CEOs who are analog guys in a digital world…there no longer is the luxury of patience and delay.
If you’re in the online space, you have to do better. If you aren’t…you need to get moving.
This recommendation holds even if you don't think anyone in your market is in the online grocery business. Because you’re wrong. Because both Amazon and NetGrocer (which, in the interest of full disclosure, is owned by MNB sponsor MyWebGrocer) are in the national online grocery business, and there are persistent rumors that Walmart plans to start aggressively selling groceries online using a model that would have customers picking them up at store locations.