Bentonville, Arkansas-based Walmart has shared an expanded vision and new name for its media business, now called Walmart Connect. Formerly known as Walmart Media Group, the new name reflects the company’s ability to accelerate the connection between brands and its 150 million weekly customers.
Walmart Connect is creating ways for partners to be top of mind in Walmart stores, on its digital properties and across the internet in a way that is additive to customers’ experiences. The business will harness Walmart’s omnichannel presence, the power of its closed loop system and knowledge of its customer base to bring brands closer to their intended audience no matter how they shop.
“Walmart has always connected customers and the great brands they love, and now we have the ability to offer an easy-to-use platform to enhance those connections at scale,” said Janey Whiteside, chief customer officer for Walmart. “We’ve built a substantial business that can serve clients in a way no one else can – as a closed loop omnichannel media company. By expanding our offerings, we’re creating measurable value for our partners and customers alike in our ecosystem and beyond.”
Walmart Connect is focusing on three strategic areas that will set it up to become one of the top 10 advertising platforms in the U.S. over five years.
- Growing offerings across its digital properties – Walmart Connect is utilizing the reach of its native digital properties including Walmart.com, pickup and delivery and the Walmart App, to offer holistic campaigns including search and display media, across the digital shopper experience, putting advertiser messages right next to where customers are making purchasing decisions. This part of the business is growing fast. Last fiscal year, it saw nearly double the amount of revenue and more than double the number of advertisers.
- Introducing innovative in-store experiences – Walmart Connect is unveiling new omni capabilities that allow advertisers to reach the millions of customers that shop Walmart’s physical stores each week. The retailer is now offering media activations on in-store TV walls and self-checkout screens with nearly 170,000 digital screens across 4,500-plus stores. Many brand messages can be delivered with date, time and geographic specificity.
These advancements make Walmart Connect one of the largest instore activation networks and digital out-of-home ad platform. More opportunities for brands to be included in in-store experiences and sampling opportunities such as the Walmart Drive-in, Spooky Street and more will be offered over time.
- Expanding offsite media opportunities, at scale – Walmart Connect will be leveraging its first-party shopper data to drive media performance for sellers outside of Walmart’s proprietary sites. Walmart has partnered with Trade Desk to launch a first-of-its-kind demand-side platform for suppliers and their media and ad agencies in time for the 2021 holiday season. This DSP will combine the best-in-class technology and performance of The Trade Desk platform with the scale of Walmart shopping data, ultimately allowing advertisers to drive more effectiveness with their overall media spend.
“Walmart is pioneering a new frontier in digital advertising, providing marketers with access to shopper data for the first time, in a way that both protects consumer privacy and improves the consumer experience,” said Jeff Green, CEO and co-founder of The Trade Desk. “In doing so, marketers will be able to create much more refined, relevant and measurable advertising campaigns, which can be adapted on-the-fly to changing circumstances and real-time performance. We are thrilled to be working with Walmart to bring this vision to life.”
Walmart Connect is an important part of the company’s overall strategy, which includes diversifying its revenue streams, and it will be strengthened by the company’s other key initiatives. For example, Walmart+ will nurture loyal customers and generate shopper data; expanding the company’s e-commerce marketplace will grow the number of sellers who benefit from Walmart Connect; and creating new ways of commercializing content will lead to more creative shoppable placements for items.
“It’s exciting to see our strategy come together in a way that drives growth for our business, creates value for our partners and, most importantly, creates a better, more comprehensive shopping experience for our customers,” added Whiteside.