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Facebook and Walmart Go Local In a Big Way




Maybe Walmart is finally getting the idea that they need to be a local company despite their mega-corporation status. For years they have let their Google Place pages languish in the territory of “unclaimed” but that appears to have changed.

Now they have gone social in their local attempts by creating a Facebook Page for every one of their more than 3,500 stores. An AP story tells a bit more

The world’s largest retailer announced Tuesday a partnership with the social networking site that offers Facebook pages specifically tailored for each of its more than 3,500 locations. Those pages are designed to allow its customers to interact with its local stores as well as get information on new products, events and discount offers. The partnership marks the first of its kind for a merchant and underscores how companies are using Facebook to develop a deeper relationship with its shoppers by responding quickly to their demands with the goal of increasing sales.

Here is a picture of the page used to get one started down the path of making Walmart a local and social experience.

Your next stop is getting to your local Walmart page which looks like any other Facebook page but it is local. As you can see by the numbers of folks liking a local store that this idea is indeed really new.

One point of interest is that I couldn’t get the process started in Chrome so I turned to Firefox and everything worked as intended. I know more than a few people who have trouble doing “normal” activities in Chrome. While that’s a side note to what Walmart and Facebook are doing it is possibly an important one since the frustration of not being able to get the process started may make some not participate at all.

The AP story continued to give some more corporate insight into the move

“This allows us to make our stores relevant on a local level,” said Stephen Quinn, executive vice president of Wal-Mart’s U.S. division, during a media conference call late Monday. “This addresses our ‘next-generation’ customers who are using a lot of social media. A national message is often not as relevant.”

Wow, how forward thinking of Walmart! Did it really take them this long to figure this out? I sure hope not but why wouldn’t this approach have happened much sooner if Walmart had actually figured out the local, social, mobile nature of the world these days. Oh and nine straight quarters of revenue decline might have had something to do with it. Just sayin’.

As for the experience itself the retail giant is promising that this won’t be your standard Facebook page experience.

Carolyn Everson, vice president of global marketing solutions for Facebook.com, said the partnership with Wal-Mart goes beyond a “simple local tab.” “This is embedding the social media phenomenon into the core of the offering,” she added. She noted that Wal-Mart has worked hard to engage its Facebook fans. Facebook isn’t currently working with other merchants to develop this localized approach because it doesn’t have enough resources, she added.

This is an ambitious undertaking even for the likes of Facebook. Does it make you interested enough to become a follower of your local Walmart? Of the over 9 million people who like the Walmart corporate page how many will make the jump to the local side? Only time and promotion will tell but this is one social media venture worth keeping an eye on.

Your take?

  • http://www.crossingmarketingandit.com Elmer Boutin

    Unless they give the local managers some say in how this works and in content creation, I don’t see it working very well. There are too many stores for a small, centralized team to engage properly. It’ll be interesting to see how this plays out.

  • Cynthia Boris

    I think this is a smart move. I follow two fast food chains on Facebook (for the deals, of course) Del Taco and Chick Fil A. Del Taco is not localized and I pay attention now and then. Chick Fil A is localized and I read their posts almost every day because they’re not just about the food, they’re about my neighborhood.

    It was even Chick Fil A’s Facebook post that alerted me to the massive Southern California blackout from last month. How’s that for service!

  • http://www.tedrubin.com/about-2/ Ted Rubin

    Great post Frank. Walmart, although a slow starter, is looking to leverage social in many ways, and the brands working with them need to take note and jump on the train now rather than later.

  • http://www.patrickwagner.com Patrick Wagner

    This is a great post, Walmart has the location, facebook has the software – this seem like a match made in heaven. Especially with Walmart’s strong foothold in China and South Asia.

    I really think this unlikely duo will produce some new tools or web apps to make life easier & cheaper.

  • guest

    Wow, how exciting! I really hope it helps Wal-Mart succeed. I just love that local company and the way it really engages me socially. I feel engaged and mobilized. Let’s all pitch in!

    (So excited!!!!!)

  • Jim Capa

    Is it just me, or do other people see something deceitful and even creepy in the idea of Walmart “acting local”?

    Do they think they’re fooling anyone? Look, people go to Walmart because they’re convinced (by dubious but constant advertising) that they’ll find things at “the cheapest” prices and that it’s “one stop shopping”.

    Or they live somewhere where there is absolutely no alternative located close by.

    But this Facebook “innovation” doesn’t change what Walmart really is: a retail monopoly that has driven virtually all competitors out of business, selling “cheap” products but at a tremendous cost in so many other ways.

    Walmart provided tremendous momentum to the “outsourcing ” of American jobs; destroyed almost all smaller competitors; limited our choice as consumers; and hurts the very idea of a free market. I don’t shop at Walmart; if you value human dignity, small business and the spirit of true competition, you won’t either.