October 11, 2011

Wal-Mart Opens Local Stores on Facebook

It’s October, which means the holiday shopping preparations are underway. For many retailers, it means gearing up for the nuttiest time of the year, but some are utilizing social networking to make it easier for everyone all around.

Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. just teamed up with Facebook (News - Alert) to help customers connect with their local stores, a move that is a strategic one to compete with online retailer, Amazon.

The “My Local Walmart” gives the some 9 million Facebook fans the power to obtain information for its 3,500 locations, but with store-specific Facebook pages that customers can “like.”

“With early Walmarts, customers would walk in and ask the store manager to get a product,” said Stephen Quinn, chief marketing officer of Wal-Mart. “This is going to allow this kind of communication at national scale. Stores become more relevant on a local level because of interaction with customers.”

Quinn added that the initiative was in response to its Facebook fans' requests to see more localized messages, from the latest new TVs and local produce to events like cooking demonstrations. But he added, "This is just scratching the surface. We are just getting started on a social media revolution."

The app also has downloadable maps of individual stores which could come in handy during the Black Friday (News - Alert) rush to kick off the holiday shopping season.

Last week, Facebook introduced "People Talking About," a new way to measure engagement on Facebook pages, by going beyond "likes" and taking into account shares, comments, posts, tags, and check-ins.

That statistic, which users will see on Pages below the total number of “Likes,” will be one of four tracked by Pages Insights. The idea is that users will understand a Page with a high People Talking About rating is one that has compelling content. Likewise, content creators will be motivated to make their Pages more comment-worthy.

Michelle Amodio is a TMCnet contributor. She has helped promote companies and groups in all industries, from technology to banking to professional roller derby. She holds a bachelor's degree in Writing from Endicott College and currently works in marketing, journalism, and public relations as a freelancer.

Edited by Rich Steeves