Walmart looks to be getting into the group deals game.
We’ve written previously about companies like Groupon and LivingSocial that work with businesses in different geographic areas to create special offers for potential customers. These offers spread via social networks in order to gather a critical mass of people to make the deal happen; customers win because they save money, businesses win because they have guaranteed business and Groupon and LivingSocial win because they get a cut of the action. And Groupon, in particular, has surged with the help of Facebook, with revenues reportedly set to hit $600 million in 2010.
Walmart is doing it differently. It already has a critical mass of people, many customers and they have all the merchandise so they are essentially wrapping up the entire business model on one Facebook tab.
The CrowdSaver tab on the Walmart Facebook Page is a place where the company’s 1.9 million fans have a chance to take advantage of Walmart’s latest deal. Essentially, Walmart posts a deal but instead of crowdsourcing people to opt-in to the deal, fans have to get their Facebook friends to Like the deal. Walmart provides a Share function to this end.
A recent example is a 42” plasma TV with wall mount that Walmart was offering for $398 at a discount of 18% as long as 5,000 people Liked the deal. The deal made today and a message appears asking people to return later in the week to make the purchase; following the link takes you to the Walmart web site.
There’s no Facebook integration on Walmart’s web site, so presumably the offer will be available for purchase directly on Facebook or the company web site will change to reflect the Facebook discount later this week.
On the Facebook Page, Walmart says the CrowdSaver price is available only if the number of Likes are met and then the item will be available for purchase at that price on Walmart’s web site until the item runs out.
Walmart is not only offering electronic deals, but also deals for home items and toys. It will be interesting to see how Walmart’s 1.9 million fans react to CrowdSaver because it’s really only partially rewarding them for being fans on Facebook. Even though Facebook fans are the ones who push the discount into reality, anyone who beats them to the deal on the Walmart web site can reap the rewards of their loyalty, too — and elbow them out of the deal completely if supplies run out.
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