Walmart Goes Local on Facebook, Seeking Shopper Adoption

Just in time for coveted Black Friday discounts, Walmart and Facebook have partnered release My Local Walmart, a move to connect Fans of the world’s largest retailer with neighborhood deals, product rollbacks and in-store events through the News Feed.

“A national message is not always relevant,” Stephen Quinn, Wal-Mart’s senior vice president and chief marketing officer, told several news sources. “We can now say we have sunscreen in the south and snow boots in the north.”

With more than 10 million fans, according to PageData, Walmart’s move to store-level messaging gives shoppers the information that’s most useful—nearby deals. Earlier this week, we noted that Walmart had gained 51,460 followers, moving the Page to one of the most popular of the week, according to our Top 20 report on PageData. More than 3,500 Wal-Mart local pages have already launched on Facebook, through the My Local Walmart application. Users type in their zip code, and a populated screen of local stores shows up, with the option to like any number of them. Already equipped with the Black Friday discount previews to help families organize their holiday shopping and find nearby discounts. ‘Liking’ a local Walmart store also enables users to check out a downloadable map pinpointing the location of the store and key special deals.

While there is significant buzz, don’t expect Walmart shoppers to use Facebook as the go-to place for its retail information yet. When we roamed for local listings near San Francisco, none of the options had yet to receive more than 50 ‘likes.’ As Henry Kim of sneakpeeqtold Forbes, “they have to put a lot of resources into it and continue to figure out what works and iterate just like any other social commerce player.” While Walmart is a behemoth brand, that doesn’t mean it’ll get immediate success out of its its locally-powered app. Since Walmart no longer will be speaking from just one major megaphone, we’ll see how often local Walmart chains update deals, and events. According to Quinn, Walmart expects the local Walmart Pages to send two updates per day.

For Walmart, it’s a move to get to know the shoppers better as well, gain key information on what items to stock, and of course, start monetizing on those Page ‘Likes.’ Walmart’s overall margins have been down, although it reported a 5.7 percent second-quarter earnings, reported The Wall Street Journal. This new partnership is also a move to compete with Amazon in e-commerce and social networking. Amazon launched several partnership components with Facebook in 2010. And like Amazon, Walmart still has a significant amount of testing to do.