Walmart Launches Lifestyle Magazine in Canada

Discussion
Apr 09, 2013

Contrary to popular belief, people still do read print magazines. At least, that’s the case in Canada, according to Walmart.

Walmart Canada has launched a free, 100-page glossy lifestyle magazine just a few days, the Toronto Star reported, after Target published a 28-page flyer to support the opening of its first 24 stores in Canada.

Walmart Live Better, according to the retailer and its publishing partner Rogers Media, will be published six times a year as a glossy magazine. It will also be available online, on mobile devices and as an iPad app.

The theme of the lifestyle magazine which will cover beauty, fashion, food and home trends, is intended to reinforce Walmart’s "Save Money, Live Better" mantra. Walmart Canada has said the English language magazine will have a print circulation of one million.

"Canadians want to be inspired by new ideas and stay on budget. With Walmart Live Better they don’t have to make a choice. Our team of experts provide great ideas on how to make dollars go farther with style," said Sandra Martin, editor-in-chief of the magazine, in a statement.

Walmart first announced it was teaming with Rogers Media to publish the magazine last December.

Emma Fox, chief marketing officer for Walmart Canada, said in a statement at that time, "This magazine makes a lot of sense for us. Walmart Canada is a shopping destination for 89 percent of moms in Canada, and 20 million people visit our supercenters every month. Through the Walmart Live Better magazine we can share information that adds value for our customers."

What is your reaction to the launch of “Walmart Live Better” in print and digital forms in Canada? Is this omni-channel custom content approach something that other retailers can or should emulate?

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11 Comments on "Walmart Launches Lifestyle Magazine in Canada"


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David Biernbaum
Guest
9 years 1 month ago

Some people do still read print magazines if even a significantly smaller number than in the past. Magazines sold on impulse at the check stands still grab attention and end up going home with the shopper. However, what Walmart will predictably find out, assuming the magazines are worthwhile reading, is that most of their customers will eventually ask for the content to be available online for much greater convenience.

Joan Treistman
Guest
9 years 1 month ago

For Walmart Canada there is more upside than downside to the print magazine initiative. That would not be the case for other retailers.

And even if “Walmart Live Better” does not succeed, it is unlikely to leave permanent scars financially or in terms of brand equity. Other retailers might reel from a flop on both counts.

Walmart has engagement and loyalty at the outset…not to mention the huge numbers of shoppers, expecting a million readers. If their publication is a compelling read, Walmart can enhance loyalty and trust. If the publication doesn’t live up to expectations, then it will be unread and discarded by consumers…and dropped by Walmart.

Walmart’s content and execution will be the drivers of reader involvement over the long term. I am not sure how Walmart will translate their publication’s success to revenue and profit. I trust my colleagues will shed light on that part of the prognosis.

Dr. Stephen Needel
Guest
9 years 1 month ago

I like shopping in Walmart, but gee, I’m pretty sure I don’t want to read about what they think my experience should be in their magazine. It might only reinforce that I’m shopping somewhere cheap, rather than that I’m getting great values.

The good news is, it’s free and it’s not being mailed—you have to choose to read it.

Ryan Mathews
Guest
9 years 1 month ago

Let’s try to put nationalist logic aside for a moment, as much as most Americans like to pretend it isn’t true that Canadians are their own people, have their own culture and … gosh, gee … even sometimes think and act differently than us good, old boys in the U.S. of A.

For example, when Loblaw purchased the rights to produce their version of Trader Joe’s Insider Report in Canada the resulting publication became the “magazine” with the largest distribution in the country.

So … the issue really is …. irrespective of “channel” or “platform” … can Walmart demonstrate the cultural nuance necessary to produce a communication vehicle Canadians will find simultaneously interesting, relevant, authentic, informative and creative?

The Devil, as always, is in the deliverable.

Striking the right content cord is the hard part, making it available however a customer might want to choose to access it is a no-brainer.

Gordon Arnold
Guest
9 years 1 month ago

This is a working example of how far ahead Walmart is in Canada and what they are doing to stay there. As in the big getting bigger and “stronger.”

Herb Sorensen, Ph.D.
Guest
9 years 1 month ago

I make no predictions on the success here, but the idea is good. Who would have thought that Hallmark would end up being a major media company? A company like Walmart can easily consider taking a more serious thought leadership position in their shoppers’ lifestyles. I notice that both Forbes and the Wall Street Journal have “lifestyle” slick magazines. Walmart COULD become a major player with this.

George Anderson
Guest
9 years 1 month ago

Ryan’s point is well taken. Partnering with Rodgers, a Canadian multimedia institution that includes Maclean’s, should assure that Walmart Live Better stays relevant from a content standpoint.

Craig Sundstrom
Guest
9 years 1 month ago

“How effective do you expect “Walmart Live Better” to be as a marketing tool for Walmart Canada?” This one sentence sums up the whole problem (at least to the extent that WM is actually thinking along similar lines). The point isn’t really to deliver content, meaningful content, it’s to push products that—gee, imagine that!—WM wants to sell. And at the risk of violating Monk’s Rule and assuming “they’re just like us,” I think our Northern neighbors ARE just like us in their ability to see through filler.

Matt Schmitt
Guest
9 years 1 month ago

In the age of lifestyle branding and brand storytelling, it’s important to have media channels to manage. Retailers with a dedicated customer base can (and should) have media strategies that do more than just buy ads. They have to become more involved in the content process and communication channels, and could do well to act a bit more like they have a media brand to manage.

Tom Redd
Guest
9 years 1 month ago
Well, first let’s cut that omni word…overused. I am a big magazine reader and turn the page vs swipe with my fingers—like “Pad” addicts do. There is a strong market out there that still reads mags, rips out coupons, and looks forward to the next issue. It is a format that requires no concerns about security, no ads rolling all over on the page and no pop-ups asking if you need help. The print space is a channel that all retailers should start, or keep rolling in. Why? Personal belief: Costco has done great with their magazine and coupon book. They have gained members who have read the material at our house. Angie’s List does a super job at regionalizing their pubs and extends the value of their solution. AAA magazine – good ideas and great coupons and will help as AAA Auto now opens more and more service centers. Cabelas – okay, they are catalogs with a mix of magazine flavor, but a great read, over and over. So, if I were a retailer,… Read more »
Kurt Seemar
Guest
Kurt Seemar
9 years 1 month ago

Without the printed version, the Walmart magazine would fail. By offering a print version, it brings credibility to the publication and shows that Walmart is committed to it. Also, people still read print. The ability to pick up a magazine in the checkout line and bring it home to read it will drive the circulation. Assuming the content is worthwhile; folks will start to look for the publication in an electronic format for convenience. Utilizing both channels for delivery is essential.

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