Walmart all in on in-store retail media

Walmart Connect is moving into more in-store experiences, starting with in-store demos and in-store audio.
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  • Walmart’s in-house retail media network is focusing on in-store activations. 
  • Walmart Connect will offer partners in-store demos and in-store audio opportunities. 
  • The retailer plans to roll out the demos to 1,000 stores by the end of the year, and suppliers can advertise on Walmart Radio on a regional or store basis.

Walmart Connect, the retailer’s in-house retail media platform, is further moving into the physical store, starting with two new experiences: in-store demos and in-store audio. 

The new initiatives were detailed in a June 5 blog post authored by Whitney Cooper, head of omnichannel transformation at Walmart Connect. Cooper said Walmart Connect was leaning into brick-and-mortar activations because that’s where most of its shoppers are. According to Walmart, 88% of Walmart shoppers made an in-store purchase last year. 

“At the store level, we are being very deliberate with our approach,” Cooper wrote. “The experiences we design must be additive and create a shopping experience that is consistent with what customers have come to expect from us over the last 60 plus years. We’re working with teams across Walmart to assess new formats to make sure we are creating amazing customer experiences without interrupting store operations.” 

The first of the new activations is in-store demos, which offer product samples to shoppers. According to Cooper, the demos:

  • Allow suppliers to integrate them with their other digital and in-store campaigns. 
  • Will be scalable across the U.S.
  • Will help suppliers drive the discovery of new products or promote their core offerings. 
  • Create experiences that shoppers look forward to attending.
  • Pair digital and physical experiences, such as adding a QR code to a demo cart that takes shoppers to a curated landing page. 

Cooper said Walmart has piloted these in-store demos since April, offering them every weekend at 120 stores. The retailer said it plans to expand these demos to 1,000 stores by the end of 2023.

The second activation is in-store audio, which is being added to Walmart’s radio network. Walmart says in-store audio: 

  • Will allow suppliers to purchase ad spots by region or by individual store. 
  • Creates opportunities for brand marketers and out-of-home buyers to create brand awareness. 
  • Offers the opportunity to connect with shoppers wherever they are in the store; customers don’t have to walk past a certain aisle to learn about the product.

“Walmart Connect’s focus isn’t just on what we can do with Walmart’s physical footprint, but what experiences we can create that are additive and relevant to our customers, to help them save time and money,” Cooper wrote. “And in turn, can create meaningful connections between our customers and the brands that work with us.” 

Walmart Connect got its name in 2021 when the big-box retailer rebranded its existing Walmart Media Group. According to Insider Intelligence, digital retail media ad spending was anticipated to reach approximately $40.8 billion last year — more than three times what was spent prior to the COVID-19 pandemic.