In this week's earnings call, Walmart discussed its global ad business and later expanded on how Walmart Connect aims at connecting advertisers with its customers through omnichannel engagement.
In the old days of brick-and-mortar-first, Walmart disrupted the retail space with scale and competitive pricing. They've since built out their e-commerce channels in an attempt to keep up with Amazon and D2Cs. The resulting digital media presence is a tempting opportunity for advertisers. Over the last year, other big box retailers like Best Buy, Lowe's and Walgreens have also stepped up their advertising offerings. These efforts suggest a further revenue stream developed from first-party data, and confidence that the retailers' customers have more attention to spare for further advertising.
Walmart boasts penetration in 90% of American households through in-store and online retail. Furthermore, they claim that 150 million customers shop Walmart every week. (The first-party data Walmart cites for the 90% figure is from 2019.)
Walmart lists their stores and their website as places where meaningful connections happen between retailer and customer. This, of course, is where customers are close to purchase. Beyond that, Walmart also lists their presence on social media and around the web on other sites. It's all part of the digital discovery stage of the customer journey. Walmart's own digital properties serve a role in this journey as well, through search on their site and through digital display ads.
Advertising through a retail chain piggybacks on the brand efforts that Walmart launches on their own. And Walmart has been making inroads on hot platforms like TikTok. For instance, they promoted purchasing ideas for football fans this year on TikTok, in preparation for the "Big Game,", using the hashtag #GetTheWChallenge.
AR and visual discovery
Last holidays, Walmart tapped into increased attention about AR technology by launching its own Gift Finder AR experience. They also co-created shoppable recipes on Pinterest.
To reach shoppers, there are a number of new screens and channels for advertisers to jump on. There are self-checkout screens, TV walls and in-store events and sampling opportunities for brands to get seen and engage with customers. According to the company, there will also be a new premium ad experience on Walmart.com up by the end of 2022.