Walmart wants your walls

Discussion
Photo: Art.com
Dec 10, 2018

With its latest planned digital-property purchase, Art.com, Walmart is looking to help customers fill out their walls.

In a blog entry, Anthony Soohoo, SVP and group general manager, Home, Walmart U.S. eCommerce, wrote that ten months ago, the retailer unveiled a Walmart Home online portal featuring curated collections, nine shop-by-style options, editorial-style imagery and design tips. Management has subsequently gained insights into how consumers want to shop the home category and what inspires them.

“A big factor in creating that space starts with the wall,” wrote Mr. Soohoo. “When decorating, redecorating, or even just infusing some new life into a room — many times the best and lowest-priced place to start is by hanging a piece of art on the wall.”

Art.com, according to Walmart, is the world’s largest online retailer in the art and wall décor category with two million curated images and extensive on-demand and customization capabilities. The items range from “affordable and chic” posters for first apartments to limited edition prints and loft art pieces.

Walmart said the purchase is part of its goal to acquire digital brands “that are unique and differentiated, offering products and experiences you can’t find anywhere else.” Much like past acquisitions of Shoes.com and Moosejaw, Art.com’s category expertise and assortment is expected to support Walmart.com, Jet.com and Hayneedle.com, the online furniture retailer. Art.com will also operate as a standalone site.

Art.com’s wide selection, according to Mr. Soohoo, will enable a first-time home buyer to “make their house a home without breaking the bank” while helping Walmart personalize the buying experience around the entire home category for them in the future. Mr. Soohoo wrote, “We now have a better understanding of design aesthetics, color preferences, complementary pieces — like rugs, furniture, etc. — and, even insight into the size of the space.”

Art.com also has an ArtView feature that enables browsers to see what a piece of art looks like on their walls before they buy. The feature may further Walmart’s virtual shopping efforts.

The acquisition comes as rivals Target and Amazon.com have been ramping up their private label offerings in the home category.

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: How much and in what ways do you see Art.com helping Walmart address the home category online? Will the acquisition offer a sizeable advantage over rivals?

Please practice The RetailWire Golden Rule when submitting your comments.
Braintrust
"Acquiring Art.com is a smart move, opening up the door to new demographics of first-time Walmart shoppers."
"There are a LOT of places providing the same kind of service but you can’t out-Walmart Walmart."
"This concept is an excellent strategy for Walmart, and they will find many interested customers."

Join the Discussion!

7 Comments on "Walmart wants your walls"


Sort by:   newest | oldest | most voted
Jeff Sward
BrainTrust

A couple of words capture it …”category expertise and assortment.” It looks like Walmart has a list of product categories where they want to provide serious competition. I know that I can find just about anything on Amazon and Walmart is looking for that same reputation. Eventually all these e-commerce businesses will give Walmart the data it needs to better assort their stores, regionally and locally.

Art Suriano
Guest

This concept is an excellent strategy for Walmart, and they will find many interested customers. We all have our personal preferences, and this opportunity will provide practically unlimited choices for customers seeking to spruce up their walls with many options. The category will appeal to those with their first apartment or home who may have limited budgets as well as those who are looking to improve or completely redo their entire home décor. I see this as being very successful for Walmart and it will most likely lead to competition from other retailers.

Ricardo Belmar
BrainTrust
Ricardo Belmar
Retail Transformation Thought Leader, Advisor, & Strategist
3 years 7 months ago

Walmart’s strategy seems to be to acquire category leaders in segments where they may not have a strong presence or are not considered a top destination by consumers. This appears to be their formula for combating the “everything store” approach Amazon has across merchandise categories. Home goods is certainly a smart category to invest in (just ask TJX how their Home Goods brand is doing!) and this move makes sense for Walmart to capture a segment leader and integrate it with their offerings. We are seeing the makings of two “everything stores” in retail!

Brandon Rael
BrainTrust

What truly makes an outstanding customer experience unique is extremely powerful customer insights. Insights and data are the new fuel that ignite a powerful customer experience. As a global retailer, Walmart certainly has plenty of customer insights at their disposal however, as they have demonstrated with their past digital native acquisitions (Jet.com, Bonobos etc), to make a bold move into a new category the fastest entryway is via an acquisition.

As we enter 2019, the experiential, lifestyle, beauty, and fitness/health segments will continue to drive the retail economy. Walmart is taking a very wise strategic step with their Art.com acquisition. The challenge will be for Walmart to truly take full advantage of these insights, and a potentially new customer segment that wouldn’t normally shop in their big box stores.

Cynthia Holcomb
BrainTrust

Walmart’s new editorial style images lift Walmart into the sphere of affordable fashion for home. While purchasing a home may be out of range for many Millennials, creating a personal space is not given Walmart’s new modern range of all things home. Art.com is a smart acquisition, offering design inspiration, modernizing each Walmart Shop by Style option. This is clearly an advantage for Walmart over Target and Amazon. Target’s home decor offerings have narrowed with the focus on Magnolia Home, which is a specific look. Amazon is very tedious to shop for anything to do with fashion, compounded by third-party vendors selling seconds as new. Acquiring Art.com is a smart move, opening up the door to new demographics of first-time Walmart shoppers.

Ian Percy
BrainTrust
This sure takes me back to my first house bought for $18,000. I remember one of the grocery chains in Toronto having a promotion where you could get great art free – like Rembrandt’s The Man With the Golden Helmet, Vermeer’s Girl With a Pearl Earring – and other fine work. Damn I was proud! I had great taste with zero budget. And I’d do it all over again. So yes, I love that Walmart is helping people make their homes something they’re proud to come back to after a day of work or school. Still, I agree with several colleagues here that it’s the curation that’s key. There are a LOT of places providing the same kind of service but you can’t out-Walmart Walmart. My favorite is Etsy because you can get economically-priced prints from a huge variety of remarkable artists. The difference is you can also directly contact an artist whose work you love and have a one-of-a-kind original piece of fine art custom-created for you. That pretty well covers all tastes and… Read more »
David Naumann
BrainTrust
David Naumann
Marketing Strategy Lead - Retail, Travel & Distribution, Verizon
3 years 7 months ago

Walmart continues to surprise and impress the retail industry with it acquisition binge and continued testing of new concepts and technology. The Art.com addresses two objectives for Walmart: continued expansion of home decor products and adding brands that may expand its customer base.

With acquisitions like Moosejaw, Modcloth and Bonobos, and now Art.com, customers that are fans of the brands may be more open and receptive to shopping at Walmart as their brand perceptions gets shaped by its portfolio of brands. What’s next, Walmart?

wpDiscuz
Braintrust
"Acquiring Art.com is a smart move, opening up the door to new demographics of first-time Walmart shoppers."
"There are a LOT of places providing the same kind of service but you can’t out-Walmart Walmart."
"This concept is an excellent strategy for Walmart, and they will find many interested customers."

Take Our Instant Poll

How much of a benefit will Art.com provide to Walmart in supporting its home category online?

View Results

Loading ... Loading ...