Walmart kicks off Cyber ​​Week with Jason Derulo event

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The Walmart+ home screen on a laptop in Brooklyn, New York, Wednesday, November 18, 2020.

Gabi Jones | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Wal-Mart has added another tool to its arsenal this holiday to increase online sales: more than 30 live events, including a web week event in collaboration with musician Jason Derulo.

In the past year, the retail giant has tested shopable activities on different social media platforms. It held its first live broadcast in December last year, when it had a holiday shopping. It invites influential people to hold spring beauty events on TikTok. It invited celebrity chef Ree Drummond to talk about her Pioneer Woman series of cookware and more on Facebook. So far, it has held 15 events in total.

Now, Chief Marketing Officer William White says that live events will become a larger part of Wal-Mart’s digital strategy.

In an interview with CNBC, he said: “If you think about the number of live broadcasts we are going to do, the number of social commerce partners we have, we are really expanding now.” He said that retailers will increase the frequency, but no Set a fixed amount every week or every month.

White is an alumnus of large competitor Target, and he said that he sees these activities as a way to strengthen the retailer’s brand, establish an emotional connection with shoppers, and “shorten the distance between inspiration and purchase.”

He declined to disclose sales figures, but said that Wal-Mart has seen high conversion rates, watch time and social media fans in every event.

For Wal-Mart, this strategy can help promote e-commerce sales. The retailer’s digital sales accelerated during the pandemic, but this growth rate has slowed significantly as more shoppers return to the store. In the fiscal year ended January 31, U.S. e-commerce sales increased by 79%.

However, in the most recent quarter, the growth rate declined and was lower than expected. According to data from Refinitiv, Wal-Mart’s e-commerce sales in the United States in the third quarter increased by 8% year-on-year, compared with expectations of 20.5%. This is a slight increase from the 6% growth rate in the second quarter.

However, on a two-year basis, the growth of its US e-commerce is huge. The 8% growth in the third quarter was higher than the 79% in the same period last year. However, e-commerce has not yet become a profitable business for retailers, and it is competing with digital giant Amazon for sales.

This is one of the factors that suppresses Wal-Mart’s stock price. As of Friday’s close, the stock is down about 1% this year, while the S&P 500 index is up 31% this year.

Live broadcasting has become a sales driver for Chinese retailers, and Alibaba has promoted live broadcasting in China. However, in the United States, retailers from Macy’s Bloomingdale’s to Petco have been trying to crack the code and make these activities a more meaningful part of their business. Amazon has a series of QVC-like live events on its website almost throughout the day.

According to data from Coresight Research, a consumer market research organization, the live broadcast market in the United States last year was valued at approximately US$6 billion. It predicts that the market may exceed $25 billion by 2023.

Coresight’s data shows that these figures pale in comparison to China, where live broadcast sales in 2020 are estimated to be US$125 billion, higher than the US$63 billion in 2019.

Consumers who listen to Wal-Mart’s live events can learn more about eye shadows, sweaters or toys and quickly add them to their virtual shopping carts. He said that Wal-Mart is looking for other ways to speed up the checkout experience, such as reducing the number of clicks people need to see items they like while browsing social media apps.

He said: “When people are on social media and the digital environment they live in, inspiration comes at any time.” “We want them to shop smoothly.”

Wal-Mart has also taken other measures to speed up online purchases. It merges two applications into one application. It signed an agreement with the media company Meredith in September to produce more ads and content for purchase. For example, if consumers see attractive recipes on, they can click to add all the ingredients to the virtual shopping cart.

The Wal-Mart event hosted by Derulo will be Twitter’s first live broadcast for shopping. The approximately 30-minute show will begin at 7 p.m. Eastern Time on Sunday, focusing on gifts in various categories, from clothing and seasonal decorations to electronics. Wal-Mart said it will also include special surprise guests.

To boost sales, Wal-Mart is expanding its third-party market, providing faster online shopping and home delivery services, and more easily replenishing groceries through curbside pickup. Chief Financial Officer Brett Biggs told CNBC that the company added 21 million items to its third-party market in the third quarter. It also provides a subscription service Walmart+, which provides benefits such as fuel discounts and free home delivery, without a minimum purchase amount.

——CNBC Lauren Thomas with Annie Palmer Contributed to this report.

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