Wal-Mart Pumps Up Web Sales Experience

by Mark Friedman  on Monday, Mar. 19, 2012 12:00 am  

Wal-Mart even created a new unit in May, WalmartLabs of San Bruno, Calif., which will handle social media and e-commerce initiatives for the retailer. In November, it opened an office in India and planned to hire 100 developers.

“Today, we are on the cusp of a new era in e-commerce that is driven by social networks and delivered to consumers over mobile devices,” Anand Rajaraman, a senior vice president of Wal-Mart Global eCommerce, said in a Nov. 9 news release. “WalmartLabs India will be a strong and talent-dense base for us, and we are looking for developers who want to push the envelope to change the world of e-commerce.”

New Apps

One of WalmartLab’s first shopping apps was Shopycat, which launched on Dec. 1. Shopycat gives Facebook users the ability to quickly find gifts for people based on their likes and interests on Facebook, according to a Dec. 1 Wal-Mart news release.

“A friend who might have shared interests in the movie ‘Super 8,’ yoga and parenting, will have Shopycat recommend an exclusive edition of the movie, a fashionable yoga mat tote bag and a book on scream-free parenting,” the news release said.

If people aren’t active on Facebook, Shopycat will recommend gift cards to Walmart.com, iTunes or Starbucks, the news release said.

Walmart.com

Wal-Mart’s website, Walmart.com, is also offering deals, Duncan MacNaughton, chief merchandising officer for Wal-Mart U.S., said during a Credit Suisse consumer conference in December. A transcript of that event was posted on Wal-Mart’s website.

MacNaughton touted the benefits of a customer ordering something from Wal-Mart’s website and then having it shipped to one of its stores for free. For about 20,000 items, a customer could order and pick up the merchandise on the same day.

“We are working hard to build that library of products and bring some robustness to that,” he said.

For more than a decade, Wal-Mart has struggled to find its way with online sales.

Wal-Mart launched a basic website in 1996, but it was largely ignored by early Web surfers. Wal-Mart renovated the site in the fall of 1999, but it had trouble getting products to customers by Christmas.

 

 

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