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Walmart taps 'growth hacking' mindset

News, 21 January 2015
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NEW YORK: Walmart, the retail giant, has successfully tapped into the notion of "growth hacking" to create a range of powerful tools and solutions for its customers.

Brian Monahan, vp/marketing at Walmart.com, discussed this subject while speaking at the ad:tech New York conference.

"Certainly, our marketing has really embraced growth hacking," he said. (For more, including examples of how the firm has leveraged this idea, read Warc's exclusive report: Walmart taps the growth hacking mindset.)

"It's this interesting combination of makers, coders, doers, marketing strategists and consumer insights coming together."

Such an approach is typically associated with start-ups like Uber, Airbnb and Dropbox, all of which identified ways of utilising digital data and tech to create uniquely sticky products that serve unmet customer needs.

This process is intended to be iterative and provide solutions that are so useful and intuitive they naturally attract users and encourage organic word of mouth, instead of relying on communications for building awareness.

By solving widespread problems, they similarly ensure members keep coming back, thus enhancing loyalty levels.

For Walmart, developing a bespoke set of tools for consumers has the additional benefit of enabling it to stand out from rival retailers that are vying for their attention.

"If you want to colour outside the lines, you can't really buy shrink-wrapper, commodity products, because, by definition, it's not differentiated," Monahan said.

A profound advantage possessed by the retailer in this area is @WalmartLabs, a unit located in Silicon Valley that has completed roughly 15 acquisitions since 2011.

These include fashion app Stylr (which assists people in finding clothes they want in nearby stores), Adchemy (an ecommerce and product-search specialist), Inkiru (an analytics provider) and Luvocracy (a social marketplace).

The technology and talent housed within @WalmartLabs has helped it to "hack" numerous elements of the retail experience via powerful digital offerings.

"We have the engineering, data, resources to do more executions like that. I think that's really the key to trying to unlock these really transformational either expressions or marketing platforms," Monahan said.

Data sourced from Warc

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