Walmart shares buyer data with brands in new advertising strategy

Several grocery retailers are reorganizing their advertising activities and seem to model their approach on companies like Google and Amazon. Walmart is the latest to do so, which could have far-reaching business implications.

The retail giant adds new advertising technology for brands and sells advertising space on its in-store checkout and display screens, reported The Wall Street Journal (January 28). The changes are part of the growing ambitions of Walmart Media Group (soon to be renamed Walmart Connect) to diversify its revenue and become one of the top 10 advertising companies over the next several years, according to Janey Whiteside, director of customer service at Walmart.

The pandemic and the subsequent rise of e-commerce further accelerates the acceleration of better advertising tools. At Walmart, e-commerce sales in the United States in its most recent quarter increased 79%, while digital sales at Target and Kroger more than doubled.

Questions remain about how customers will react to Walmart allowing brands to access their personal information. According to a 2020 Marketing Charts survey, almost a third of consumers say they like personalized ads and three in 10 like brands more when they personalize ads. So it could be a win for Walmart among consumers.

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The company worked with ad technology company Trade Desk Inc. to create a platform that will allow brands to use Walmart data to send targeted digital ads to consumers across the web. Walmart also aims to enable advertisers to purchase personalized ads that target shoppers on checkout and display screens at its 4,500 stores.

Walmart isn’t the first retailer to dive deeper into advertising as a new revenue stream. Target and Kroger are also investing more in digital advertising offerings. Last July, Kroger revealed he was bolstering his media presence with two new advertising partnerships, reported Supermarket news (July 9, 2020). The pacts gave the grocery chain its first benchmark integrated media agency and “personalized radio stations” that broadcast targeted messages inside its stores.

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