Walmart collaborates with Rachael Ray

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Walmart is once again dipping its toes into the waters of social commerce, hosting a live Facebook event this week with TV personality Rachael Ray to promote the famous cook and the line of dog food and other products from the company. author.

Starting at 4 p.m. ET on Wednesday, September 29, Ray, her husband, John Cusimano, and their dog, Bella Boo Blue, will discuss the creation of Nutrish, the dog food brand that Ray and Cusimano founded in 2008, as well as the range of kitchen utensils from Ray. Viewers will also get a preview of Ray’s new cookbook and have the option to pre-order it ahead of its release next month.

The Facebook Live event, which will also air on Walmart.com, follows a series of live shopping events the retailer has hosted on TikTok starting in late 2020 and continuing through spring. These events featured a variety of TikTok designers showcasing different products available at Walmart.

Walmart said that during the first TikTok shopping event, 7,000 more people than expected by the retailer logged in and its followers on the social media platform increased by 25%.

See also: Walmart announces its second live shopping event with TikTok

Last year, Walmart Marketing Director William White told Forbes the company saw social commerce as a way to “shorten the distance between inspiration and purchase.”

“Consumers today are increasingly looking to shop in the moment,” he said. “I think it’s their behaviors that push him or the platforms that push him, as a space we’re going in that direction. And I think you see more and more platforms and consumers heading into the social commerce space.

Social commerce sales reached nearly $ 27 billion last year, according to eMarketer, a 39% year-over-year increase. Sales are expected to exceed $ 36 billion this year and reach $ 79 billion by 2025. Social commerce is expected to account for 4% of e-commerce sales in the United States in 2021.

A growing social presence

Walmart has been at the forefront of contextual commerce or the integration of shopping experiences into daily activities and natural environments, making social commerce a natural extension of other initiatives. Earlier this month, the retailer partnered with media giant Meredith Corp. to create buyable artificial intelligence (AI) -lowered advertisements and recommendations for consumers. The collaboration with Meredith will also see companies create a “buy now” integration with Allrecipes content on TikTok and voice command functionality through Google Assistant.

Walmart also offers a series of celebrity-filled videos and activities for children and adults, featuring characters from the Netflix series “Hidden World of Waffles + Mochi”. And last month, the retailer partnered with the SideChef kitchen app to publish five recipes for families to buy.

But social commerce isn’t just for the biggest brands – in a recent interview with PYMNTS, Amir Kabbara, Product Manager at Shopify, said that social media “plays an important role in the success of our merchants” and can help deepen relationships with consumers.

Read more: Shopify aims to make social media a ‘digital main street’

Holly Wade, executive director of the National Federation of Independent Business Research Center, also told Karen Webster that small business owners are turning to social media to help capture consumers they might not have been able to. achieve otherwise. PYMNTS ‘most recent study of Main Street Business Survivors found that an average small store now operates three distinct sales channels: a physical storefront, an online store, and a social media marketplace.

“It becomes more and more important during the pandemic, with changing business operations,” Wade said. “Small businesses need social media to make sure they are competitive with other businesses in the region. “

See also: After a year in survival mode, SMEs are now becoming social

Battle for the top

For Walmart, the focus on social and contextual commerce comes as it tries to maintain its title as the largest retailer in the United States for as long as possible. It is currently at a stalemate with Amazon for the crown, although data from PYMNTS predicts the e-commerce giant will overtake the box-store heavyweight in the coming months.

No more news: AMZN vs. WMT Weekly: Retail giants remain deadlocked for top spot

More importantly, Walmart is trying to maintain its edge in grocery shopping, which generates 56% of the company’s overall retail sales and is one of the last remaining categories where Walmart leads Amazon. In the second quarter, Walmart made nearly 19% of all food and beverage sales, compared to Amazon’s 2% share, despite its ownership of Whole Foods and dominance of e-commerce.

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NEW PYMNTS DATA: TODAY’S SELF-SERVICE PURCHASE JOURNEY – SEPTEMBER 2021

On: Eighty percent of consumers want to use non-traditional payment options like self-service, but only 35 percent were able to use them for their most recent purchases. Today’s Self-Service Shopping Journey, a PYMNTS and Toshiba Collaboration, analyzes more than 2,500 responses to find out how merchants can address availability and perception issues to meet demand for self-service kiosks.

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