Walmart Labs’ surprising products
Whatever Walmart is doing to stay on top of the chain-grocery-store industry, it’s working in most areas of the United States. But they’ve recently been working on some inventive social tools that should help them reach out to even more potential customers and help current customers stay better connected, which, in turn, will increase Walmart’s profits. Whether or not you like or dislike Walmart and similar stores, you will have to admit that Walmart has some pretty interesting ideas to set them apart. While all of their innovations serve the purposes of improving sales, the Lab reveals the incubator mentality sweeping the nation, even in the biggest big boxes of them all.
Goodies Co. – This service has been in Beta for a while, and now they’re ready to make it more public. Users can sign up to receive a box of goodies every month for $7 per month. These boxes are themed and give subscribers the opportunity to try new food that they may never have picked up otherwise. Walmart has set up an online community where Goodies Co. subscribers can review the products they’ve tried from the goody boxes each month and connect with others in the community. If a member liked something they were sent, they can order a full-sized version of it from the Goodies Co. website.
Shopycat – WalmartLabs has built something they call The Social Genome that can help them match consumers with products that would benefit them, based on consumer tweets and other social activity. As an example, Walmart describes someone tweeting about gourmet coffee brands. The Social Genome recognizes this as an opportunity to let that person know that a new gourmet coffee maker is on sale and that he should take advantage of the great deal. Or, a consumer may tweet that they love a certain movie. Then, Shopycat will contact friends of that person and let them know that their birthday is coming up and they recently tweeted about liking that movie. Then it will encourage the friend to buy it for them.
Polaris – Walmart wanted to make it easier for their customers to find what they need, both in the stores and on their phones—and at the same time. Polaris is ultimately a search engine that can help customers find more detailed information about products on their phones while they’re standing in front of the products in the stores, creating more confident Walmart customers.
Classrooms – This little service allows teachers from across the country to create lists of things they need and want for their classrooms. This informs parents and donators of exactly what that particular classroom is in need of. In these days when school budgets are nearly nonexistent, this has the potential to really help support education throughout the United States.
So what does all this mean to you? Well, if you’re a Walmart fan, then the above should make you happy. But if you’re not, there is still something you can learn—even if your company is relatively rock solid, there is always room for improvement. Walmart has taken many steps to amplify their social presence on the web. They’ve found ways to connect with customers, and this provides more ways for customer loyalty to develop and increase. It also goes to show that no matter how strong and stable you think your company is, there is always someone out there working on something to make themselves even stronger. Look for ways to connect with your customers on a more social level and they will respond.