Walmart is the biggest retailer on the planet, with sales totaling $568 billion in 2021. The company accounts for more than a quarter of all grocery sales in the U.S. It’s the leading online grocer and the second-largest eCommerce platform in America (trailing only Amazon).
But Walmart.com’s reach goes well beyond online shoppers. 82% of Walmart shoppers use the retailer’s site or app while shopping for Food & Beverages in a Walmart store, according to the company’s retail media arm Walmart Connect. This makes it imperative for brands to stay on top of the behemoth’s latest eCommerce moves and initiatives — which we highlight in this blog.
Shoppers increasingly use digital touchpoints in Walmart stores
Source: Walmart Spark Panel, October 2021. Data collected via online survey distributed to Walmart Customer Spark panel members. Managed by Conversation>Ally, a Data Strategy & Insights team (part of Walmart Global Tech).
PDP content update
It’s been a year since Walmart launched its integrated website — and a long year for brands without enhanced content. But enhanced content is back. Some capabilities are starting to roll out.
Rich media is back: This includes above-the-fold images and videos
What’s new: Walmart allows multiple videos in its image carousel, including the ability to add interactive videos. In this Samsung Crystal UHD Smart TV example, the electronics brand lets shoppers choose their own experience on Walmart.com based on the product criteria most important to them. It’s more engaging and more personalized than your standard video.
Interactive video capabilities are live on Walmart.com
Links to Brand Stores are now live on PDPs
What’s new: Look on the right side, just above the product title. Shoppers can now click through to your brand store link to get additional content, videos, and other information. Use this space to educate consumers about your brand and products, and to reinforce brand equity. The Lego example shown below allows consumers to explore new items, shop by age or theme, find Walmart exclusive items, and view additional product videos.
Live brand links take shoppers to brand stores and additional brand listings on Walmart.com
Retail media / search update
Walmart is leaning in on retail media. The retailer generated $2.1 billion from advertising in 2021; advertising is growing at 30% year-over-year this year, according to its latest earnings call. And Walmart continues to roll out additional capabilities.
Extending self-service ad bidding to Walmart Marketplace sellers
What's new: Walmart Connect is opening up its self-service ad bidding offer (dubbed Search Brand Amplifier) to Walmart Marketplace sellers starting in October 2022. The service previously has only been available to 1P suppliers and a few select Marketplace sellers, according to a company press release.
Per the release: “Search Brand Amplifier gives products the highest search-page viewability. Because it boosts advertised products to the top of search results, Search Brand Amplifier especially benefits smaller brands, new brands and brands with new products that may not yet have high organic search rankings at Walmart.”
This will make it easier for Walmart shoppers to discover new sellers, including many small challenger brands. It also increases competition among brands competing for a limited number of sponsored top-of-page search spots on Walmart.com. Click here for more information on Walmart Connect’s expanded search advertising solutions, including a new advanced second-price auction, additional sponsored product ad placements, and more.
Rolling out sponsored video ads
What's new: Walmart is planning to test sponsored video ads in Q4, with a full rollout anticipated in 2023. Video ads are expected to appear on Walmart’s website and mobile app based on consumer searches. This move is a way for Walmart to close the retail media capabilities gap with Amazon, which has offered sponsored video ads in search results for years.
Video ads will be sold using a cost-per-click model, according to Business Insider. Brands investing early in the new capability should get good pricing while competition for ads is still low.
So what? Now what? What should brands be doing?
Sales | Account Managers
Revisit your Walmart content scorecards
Be prepared to reset your content goals, incentives and KPIs designed around tracking rich media (i.e., videos) in addition to other enhanced content (e.g., brand stores) on Walmart.com. Expect Walmart to update their scorecards too.
Audit existing enhanced content for relevancy and freshness
For brands that previously had enhanced content on the “old” (pre-integration) dotcom site, the last thing you want is outdated content and information displayed when shoppers click on your brand link. Get your content audit underway asap. Dust off any existing videos that are still relevant. Do a full refresh for SKUs that have been rebranded, newly packaged, or reformulated in the past year or so. Given limited time and resources, it’s a good idea to prioritize products, focusing on best-in-class content for your top sellers first.
Digital Content Teams
Create rich media for Walmart.com
If you don’t already have enhanced content created for your Walmart PDPs (e.g., if you previously only sold on OPD), it’s time to get busy creating it. A good starting point is leveraging existing videos you have on other sites, e.g, Amazon or Target. It’s also a good idea to pay attention to what your top competitors and category bestsellers are doing in terms of rich media and any other enhanced content.
Media & Marketing Teams
Be ready because paid search is about to become a lot more competitive
Opening up paid search capabilities beyond the highest organic ranking products on Walmart.com has some big implications. This means it’s possible for more brands – including your top competitors and small challenger brands – to now bid on keywords and gain more exposure at the top of search results if they win. This makes it even more critical to keep tabs on search placement on Walmart.com, watching for signs that your product ranking or share of page 1 is declining. You may need to allocate more ad funds to priority products to ensure they (at the very least) remain on page 1 – because brands can lose 33% of their sales, on average, falling from page 1 to page 2, according to our research.
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