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.