Walmart turns to Moosejaw for curation
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.
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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?