Wal-Mart (NYSE:WMT) recently announced the launch of Shopycat, its first social shopping application, developed by @WalmartLabs. @Wal-Mart Labs creates platforms and products around social and mobile commerce. The application helps Facebook subscribers to quickly find gifts for friends and family based on their tastes and interests. Shopycat uses social data to recommend items from Walmart.com, Walmart stores and other sites including RedEnvelope, Barnes & Noble and ThinkGeek.  The company competes with other big retailers like Target (NYSE:TGT), Costco (NASDAQ:COST) and Best Buy (NYSE:BBY).
Social Media Initiatives Crucial for Reaching Customers
According to a recent study by Deloitte, social networks will likely surpass one billion unique members and may deliver over 2 trillion advertisements in 2011. ((Deloitte’s TMT Predictions, Company Website)) Some of Wal-Mart’s recent social media initiatives:
- In November, Wal-Mart announced a new mobile application for the iPad and updates to its iPhone app to make shopping online and in stores easier.
- It recently acquired Grabble and OneRiot, to provide boost to its social and mobile efforts. It also acquired Kosmix, a social media company, which enables users to filter and organize content in social networks.  (See our previous post: Wal-Mart Buys Kosmix, Our Take)
- @WalmartLabs has also opened a technology center in Bangalore, India, to hire approximately 100 technologists.
- Wal-Mart recently launched approximately 3,500 store-specific Facebook pages whereby users will receive offers and updates from local Wal-Mart retail locations. (See our previous post: Wal-Mart Gets Social with Facebook Integration)
We are very optimistic about Wal-Mart’s social media initiatives. The company has been really focused on connecting with customers through this medium. We believe these initiatives could boost Wal-Mart’s online sales that presently contribute only a small percent to the overall revenues.
- Walmart Unleashes Shopycat Holiday Gift Finder, Company Website [↩]
- Walmart Ventures Into The Social Media Space With Acquisition Of Kosmix, TechCrunch, Apr 18 2011 [↩]