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Walmart makes a social commerce bet

April 19, 2011

Wal Mart is Bigger than Manhattan

No one is quite sure how social commerce will pan out, but if you are Wal-Mart, the world’s largest retailer, it’s worth a $300 million “punt” to find out.

Today, the giant announced the acquisition of the Silicon Valley based Kosmix.
 

What are they buying?

A quick read of Kosmix’s blog post for today provides some insight.

“As we worked on the
Social Genome platform, it became apparent to us that this platform
could transform ecommerce by providing an unprecedented level of
understanding about customers and products, going well beyond purchase
data. The Social Genome enables us to take search, personalization and
recommendations to the next level…

More and more visitors to the retail storesretail stores
are armed with powerful mobile phones, which they use both to discover
products and to connect with their friends and with the world.

We are at an inflection point in the development of ecommerce. The
first generation of ecommerce was about bringing the store to the web.
The next generation will be about building integrated experiences that
leverage the store, the web, and mobile, with social identity being the
glue that binds the experience.”

It’s obvious how Wal-Mart can turn this data tool into something useful, but it’s also going to be powerful aid to help the retail giant better understand its competitors and spot trends ahead of time. 

Other retailers should be asking themselves what are they doing in the new mobile social space? How are they leveraging data to improve the experience? This is something more complex that a strategy for foursquare and is going to require building and experimentation with a variety of platforms . 

Posted by Ed Cotton

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