11 April 2022
Walmart is offering its retail tech to other businesses
SVP Anshu Bhardwaj shares the vision for Walmart Commerce Technologies.
SVP Anshu Bhardwaj shares the vision for Walmart Commerce Technologies.
As Walmart scales its technology organization, the company wants to provide capabilities that were developed in-house to other businesses.
Under the banner of Walmart Commerce Technologies, the company is selling retail tech to brands and retailers in areas including, fulfillment, AI and checkout. With the growth of digital and a move toward omnichannel approaches like click-and-collect, Walmart is looking to not only provide a place for brands to sell goods, but also offer the tools that power a digital business.
“We have a world class organization including technology, product and operations teams that we believe, combined with our retail strength and scale, will allow us to build a mutually beneficial flywheel that unlocks new revenue for Walmart while improving the customer experience for everyone,” Anshu Bhardwaj, Walmart SVP of Strategy and Tech Commercialization, told The Current.
Initial capabilities offered by Walmart are being made available through a partnership with Adobe Commerce. Businesses can use Walmart’s cloud-based services to provide pickup and delivery for customers. Walmart said this allows businesses to reach new customers on its third-party seller Marketplace. It can also power two-day shipping nationwide through Walmart Fulfillment Services, which allows sellers to tap the company’s logistics and supply chain capabilities. Going forward, the company will seek to power new ventures.
“New ventures are always being considered as we continue to identify challenges that retailers face. If we have a solution that allows retailers to leverage Walmart’s years of operations experience, we’ll consider making it available so that they can go back to focusing on what matters most – their customers and products,” Bhardwaj said. “With Walmart Commerce Technologies, we are enabling retailers to leverage our technologies from checkout experiences to efficient store fulfillment allowing retailers to quickly serve their customers where, when and how they shop.”
As it offers these capabilities, Walmart is growing a base of tech talent. Walmart Commerce Technologies is part of the company’s fast-growing technology organization, called Walmart Global Tech, which now has 20,000 employees. Recently, the company announced plans to hire 5,000 new employees across Walmart Global Tech this year, and open new tech hubs in Atlanta and Toronto. The immediate openings are for a variety of roles.
“This year, we’re focused on hiring cybersecurity professionals, architects, developers, software engineers, data scientists, data engineers, technical program managers and product managers,” Bhardwaj said. “Beyond the technical competencies set for each role, there are four basic beliefs tied to Walmart's values: Service the customer, respect the individual, strive for excellence and act with integrity. We are looking for authentic, respectful, high-achieving workers who value service leadership.”
The moves come as Walmart continues to grow its ecommerce business, with digital sales increasing 90% over the two years of the pandemic. While its large stores helped the company become ubiquitous in American communities, these locations are now seen as both a place for in-person shopping, as well as fulfillment centers and pickup points for online orders. On the company’s recent earnings call to recap 2021, leaders pointed out that many associates have a device in their hand at all working hours, and heralded the growth of the company’s digital advertising business. Offering technology services is a way for Walmart to extend this expansion to its work with brands.
“We've got a business that's becoming increasingly digital,” CEO Doug McMillon said on the call.
Walmart DSP and Sam's Club are applying first-party data to enhance creative and measurement for advertisers.
At its core, retail media is designed to provide advertising within an ecommerce marketplace. But as this nascent area develops, it is quickly expanding beyond the retailer’s website.
This week, two entities under the Walmart Inc. umbrella announced new capabilities that illustrate where retail media can play a role in CTV and in-store sales.
Let’s take a look:
Advertising that appears on a website doesn’t only have the potential to drive online sales. It can also help to propel sales at stores.
A new capability announced this week by Sam’s Club is offering a way to measure across both channels.
The membership club announced that in-store sales can now be attributed to search ads that appear on its ecommerce site.
Sam’s Club said its Member Access Platform will use first-party data on member transactions to determine the revenue that is generated by particular search and sponsored product ads, including for purchases made in a store.
In media measurement, attribution is sought by advertisers as they seek to determine the effectiveness of a given ad or campaign, and where to direct spend in hopes of reaching more consumers. But if an ad in one place leads to a sale in another, it adds complexity to the task of assigning credit for a sale. That’s especially true of offline sales, since there is often less information on the behavior that leads up to the store-based purchase available.
“There’s a huge group of our members who see a search ad online or on their phone when shopping but purchase the product in-club. Previously, it was not possible for our advertisers to connect the in-club purchase to their online ads to know what drove sales,” said Tim Simmons, senior vice president and chief product officer, Sam’s Club, in a statement. “With our new attribution model, advertisers can understand what’s motivating purchases across all channels accurately, especially for search ads.”
With this addition, Sam’s Club said it can now offer “true closed-loop measurement” that crosses online and offline sales. The retailer said overall ROAS has increased by nearly 30% for advertisers that have added in-store sales attribution.
The new offering illustrates how digital commerce is driving both online and offline sales. Media must continue to evolve along with shopper behavior.
Alongside retail media, another fast-growing area of digital advertising is media that appears on streaming services, which is known as CTV (Connected TV). A new partnership shows there are opportunities for the first-party data that powers retail media to serve as a bridge between the store where they shop and the couch where they watch TV.
Walmart’s media arm will work with Innovid to make more personalized creative for CTV available for advertisers through the retailer’s demand side platform.
Innovid will provide “creative personalization, optimization and interactive experiences,” as well as offer ad delivery services.
The integration of Innovid’s Dynamic Creative Optimization technology is designed to improve “relevance and effectiveness” of CTV ad creative that is available on Walmart DSP, which is powered by The Trade Desk..
"Through Walmart DSP, marketers can more effectively reach Walmart's millions of customers across inventory, optimize their media spend, and connect with consumers on highly sought-after platforms like CTV and beyond," said Krista Panoff, SVP of global enterprise development at Innovid.
The partnership will allow advertisers to tap first-party data from Walmart, and apply it to campaigns that reach customers on channels and platforms beyond the retailer’s properties. Walmart DSP provides measurement that crosses both online and offline channels, the retailer added.
This is the second announcement in as many weeks that shows how first-party data from retail media can be applied to enhance CTV. Best Buy and Roku recently announced a partnership that will put the electronic retailer’s first-party data to work for targeting and measurement on Roku streaming devices.
As advertisers seek new ways to efficiently and effectively reach customers on a web that is moving beyond third-party tools and cookies, the partnerships underscore how retailers are in a prime position to provide the purchase-level data that can help to provide results.