Walmart turns to Moosejaw for curation

Discussion
Source: Walmart.com
Aug 28, 2018
Tom Ryan

Walmart has acquired a number of niche online shops over the last three years. Monday marked the first of them, outdoorsy e-tailer Moosejaw, bringing its premium brands to Walmart.com.

The newly-launched microsite, “Premium Outdoor Store curated by Moosejaw,” is stocked with nearly 50 well-known outdoor brands, including Craghoppers, Deuter, Eddie Bauer, Gramicci and Jack Wolfskin. A full range of Moosejaw merchandise is also available.

In an interview with RetailWire, Eoin Comerford, general manager of Outdoor, Walmart U.S. e-commerce and CEO of Moosejaw, said Walmart’s “whole strategy” in acquiring niche e-tailers is to bring a “wider assortment” to the Walmart.com platform.

The select lineup at Premium Outdoor Store is a far cry from the more than 400 brands featured on Moosejaw.com, and it’s missing many of Moosejaw’s top brands, including Columbia, Arc’teryx, Patagonia and The North Face. (A few brands, such as Marmot, are available on Walmart’s online marketplace.)

And yet Walmart, with its discount-first emphasis, was not previously able to directly access any to the top outdoor brands before. Mr. Comerford said more brands are set to arrive soon and conversations are ongoing with others.

Mr. Comerford credits the relaunch of Walmart.com in April for making Moosejaw’s vendors more comfortable selling directly on the site, which took on a more image-driven, lifestyle-oriented look versus transactional. Outdoor brands saw the upgrades as “a new way for them to reach a new audience but in a very brand-friendly way.”

Also helping reassure vendors is that the site is “curated by and managed by a trusted retail partner in Moosejaw,” he said.

For its part, Moosejaw gets its name in front of the “many millions of visitors” to Walmart.com. They can also offer vendor partners a different venue than Moosejaw.com, but still a “premium experience with really a ton of exposure that we will manage for you to make sure that it’s exactly the brand experience you want to have,” according to Mr. Comerford.

A spokesman said Walmart currently has no plans to create curation-driven microsites with its other niche acquisitions, which include Bonobos, ModCloth, Shoebuy and Hayneedle.

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: Is an outdoor-themed online microsite “curated” by Moosejaw the ideal strategy to support both Walmart.com and Moosejaw.com? Does it make sense to extend the curation formula with Bonobos, MobCloth and its other niche websites?

Please practice The RetailWire Golden Rule when submitting your comments.
Braintrust
" A huge win for Moosejaw in terms of exposure and an opportunity for Walmart to offer an elevated caliber of product to its audience."
"Less discussed is the “acqui-hiring” aspect. Walmart didn’t just get a portfolio of brands in the deal, it grabbed a raft of talent..."
"Ever-improving curation of a growing brand and stock base has always been he basis of retail growth."

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12 Comments on "Walmart turns to Moosejaw for curation"


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Jeff Sward
BrainTrust

Sounds like a win/win/win to me. Walmart, Moosejaw and consumer. Walmart gains access to brands, markets and consumers they would otherwise never have access to. Moosejaw gains access to a couple more consumers than they would otherwise have access to. I have to applaud Walmart’s continuing efforts to explore new avenues into the market. In their own way, they are aiming for the breadth and depth that Amazon enjoys.

Mohamed Amer
BrainTrust
Mohamed Amer
Independent Board Member, Investor and Startup Advisor
2 years 1 month ago

When your audience can be well defined along specific product and lifestyle dimensions, a curated offering can form a sound and differentiated product strategy. I’m less confident about how well a single curation strategy can serve a broader mass audience but online testing can reveal potential distinct opportunities based on some aggregations of individual consumer tastes and interests.

David Weinand
BrainTrust

I’m surprised it took them this long to do this as this is one of the first niche acquisitions for Walmart and the curated store-within-a-store concept both online and in physical environments has been a pretty hot trend for some time. A huge win for Moosejaw in terms of exposure and an opportunity for Walmart to offer an elevated caliber of product to its audience.

Anne Howe
Guest

Adding depth in brand selection is critical for attracting new shoppers to Walmart.com, especially in the performance-driven outdoor category. Moosejaw has always had a kitschy presence/voice with shoppers, I hope that lives on as part of the curation strategy going forward. As they add other niche websites to the platform, I hope they keep more brand stories and do not morph to a more “vanilla” presence.

Jasmine Glasheen
BrainTrust

I couldn’t agree more, Anne. Walmart’s success in this venture will be based on how well they retain Moosejaw’s unique brand voice.

Adrian Weidmann
BrainTrust

Developing and integrating these “niche” online retailers into the broader Walmart community helps both brands. It is interesting to note that Moosejaw credited the redesign of Walmart.com to be more “image-driven” rather than simply transactional to its enthusiasm and success. I suspect this will help secure additional brands such as Columbia, Patagonia and The North Face.

Lyle Bunn (Ph.D. Hon)
Guest

Ever-improving curation of a growing brand and stock base has always been he basis of retail growth. The traffic and conversion analytics must be positioned to guide the growth. Moosejaw can challenge Amazon successfully if the Walmart price element can be combined with a product value message of equal weight.

Camille P. Schuster, PhD.
BrainTrust

A consumer with adventurous outdoor interests willing to pay premium prices does not sound like an in-store Walmart consumer. Trying to target one group of consumers in-store and another group online is not a good long-term strategy. All past efforts to enter upscale markets by Walmart have not been successful. Why will this be different? Having outside organizations curate products for Walmart means those organizations will not have great insight about Walmart consumers. Extending this concept before this test is evaluated would be premature.

Ricardo Belmar
BrainTrust
Ricardo Belmar
Retail Transformation Thought Leader
2 years 1 month ago

This is a continuation of Walmart’s strategy to reach new customer segments with their brand acquisitions. we’re starting to see Walmart.com become something broader than just access to an everyday low price marketplace with the addition of Moosejaw. I think they were wise to wait for the new Walmart.com experience to make this fit better overall, and while they may claim they’re not looking to bring in other curated microsites with Bonobos or Modcloth or others, I would not be surprised for them to do so if the Moosejaw experience is a success.

Ryan Mathews
BrainTrust

I think it all depends on whether or not the target shopper for the “curated” microsite sees Walmart.com as a viable alternative for their special interest. It seems to me that retail brands have permission to reach certain consumers that don’t necessarily transfer to the company that purchases them. Yes, the idea of microsite makes sense from Walmart’s position, but that’s not the real issue. It all comes down to which retailers aficionado customers see as authentic.

Carol Spieckerman
BrainTrust

At the time of the acquisition, Mr. Comerford called Moosejaw a “standalone and complementary” brand and made a point of stating that you won’t find Moosejaw products in Walmart stores. True thus far but with Walmart emphasizing its anywhere/anytime convenience proposition, with a big push toward site-to-store, the firewalls may eventually extinguish.

Less discussed is the “acqui-hiring” aspect. Walmart didn’t just get a portfolio of brands in the deal, it grabbed a raft of talent that has the authority to curate and amp up Walmart’s outdoorsy aspirations.

Mark Price
BrainTrust
Mark Price
Managing Partner, Smart Data Solutions, ThreeBridge
2 years 1 month ago

Moosejaw is an excellent strategy to permit Walmart to access brands that would not be willing to deal with Walmart directly. These higher premium brands appeal to a broader set of customers than the traditional Walmart shopper and thus increase their overall footprint. As the Premium Outdoor Store broadens, it should begin to compete more and more with Bass Pro Shops, REI, etc., in a whole new market segment for Walmart.

wpDiscuz
Braintrust
" A huge win for Moosejaw in terms of exposure and an opportunity for Walmart to offer an elevated caliber of product to its audience."
"Less discussed is the “acqui-hiring” aspect. Walmart didn’t just get a portfolio of brands in the deal, it grabbed a raft of talent..."
"Ever-improving curation of a growing brand and stock base has always been he basis of retail growth."

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