/// What Wal-Mart Has in Store for Social Commerce

June 16, 2011  |  All Things Digital


Wal-Mart’s social and mobile plans are starting to take shape only two months after acquiring  Kosmix of Mountain View, Calif. When the acquisition was first announced , it was not clear how the social start-up would fit into the retailer’s plans, but today, Kosmix’s founders have come up for air to explain what they are working on ahead of the holiday season. First, a little background. When Kosmix was purchased, it was building a database called the social genome project, which kept track of what people were interested in and what products people were talking about. But it was not necessarily focused on the intersection of social and commerce, although the subjects are very familiar to its founders Venky Harinarayan and Anand Rajaraman. Before starting Kosmix, they sold their first company, Junglee, to Amazon.com in 1998, and later were privileged enough to be individual investors in Facebook. Today, the two serve as SVPs of Wal-mart’s global e-commerce group, based in Silicon Valley. In particular, they head up a 70-person group called @WalmartLabs. (Neither company agreed to disclose terms of the acquisition; however, we heard they paid just over $300 million in cash .) Two crazy months later, the executives say they are hard at work defining how the mega-retailer — with $419 billion in sales and 1.5 billion online visits a year to its Web site — will address the two very disruptive platforms: social and mobile. The subject is definitely hot. Earlier today, I wrote about some of eBay’s latest strategies to make shopping more social and how a start-up called Copious is trying to make selling items over the Internet less anonymous. Rajaraman said while it’s unclear exactly what social commerce will mean, melding the two together is a no-brainer

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What Wal-Mart Has in Store for Social Commerce

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