- Walmart has been on an online brands binge for several years now.
- Bonobos,ModCloth, and Art.com are just a few of the brands the retail giant has snapped up since 2010.
- Walmart’s pivot toward digital-native companies likely indicates its outlook on the future of retail.
Walmart has been devouring online retailer after online retailer for the past few years.
So what’s behind this banquet of brands? The fact that many of the acquired companies belong to the realm of e-commerce indicates that this is all part of Walmart’s ongoing battle with Amazon.
But it’s also about appealing to the younger, more affluent generation of consumers that flocks to brands like Bonobos and ModCloth.
A Walmart spokesperson previously told Business Insider that “one of the drivers for customers to continue coming back to your brand is going to be finding products and experiences that they just can’t get anywhere else.”
So the future isn’t just about being online – it’s also about having products that exude exclusivity and set you apart from the competition.
Business Insider previously reported on a note from financial services firm Cowen and Company that said Walmart’s e-commerce president and CEO Marc Lore believes the retail giant needs to acquire 40 to 50 “successful digitally native retailers” in order to “resonate with millennials.”
So despite the spate of acquisitions, Walmart still has a long way to go, at least by Cowen and Company’s estimate.
Here’s a look at the slew of digitally oriented brands that Walmart has scooped up in recent years:
Walmart acquired streaming and media company Vudu back in 2010, most likely in a move to compete with Amazon.
This fall, Walmart entered into a partnership with MGM Holdings and interactive video startup Eko, in the hopes of creating more original content for the site.
Kosmix – the original name of what has since become Walmart Labs – is another one of Walmart’s early digital acquisitions.
The retailer scooped up the social media startup for a cool $US300 million in 2011.
The $US3.3 billion acquisition of Jet.com in August 2016 further propelled Walmart to a larger claim within the realm of online commerce. The purchase was largely seen as Walmart’s bid to compete with Amazon in the e-commerce space.
As an added bonus, Walmart acquired Omaha-based online retailer Hayneedle through its purchase of Jet.com. The Omaha World-Herald speculated that Hayneedle would help Walmart play “online catch-up” with Amazon.
In what Business Insider Intelligence interpreted as a play to “boost overall online sales growth” on Jet.com, Walmart purchased e-commerce outlet Shoes.com for $US70 million in January 2017.
ModCloth was yet another clothing retailer swallowed up by Walmart. Though many ModCloth shoppers weren’t too happy about the news of the acquisition when it was announced in March 2017, the vintage-inspired apparel store started opening stores across the US this year.
Walmart bought the upscale men’s clothing brand Bonobos for $US310 million in June 2017.
The announcement prompted a bit of a backlash among Bonobos fans at the time, but the acquisition appears to have been all part of Walmart’s ongoing strategy to bolster its online-centric brands.
Walmart took a bit of a break from acquiring clothing retailers in order to purchase New York-based delivery startup Parcel in October 2017.
The Parcel acquisition signalled Walmart’s intent on doubling down on its delivery capabilities, as the retailer also began offering New Yorkers same-day delivery through Jet.com.
Walmart acquired premium outdoor store Moosejaw in 2017. The reported purchase price was $US51 million.
In August 2018, Walmart unveiled a premium outdoor outlet curated by Moosejaw, featuring specially selected outdoor gear and apparel from a range of brands.
Walmart added online lingerie site Bare Necessities to its roster of brands in August.
The site sells bras, underwear, swimsuits, and sleepwear from more than 160 brands.
In October, Walmart snapped up Eloquii – a plus-size retailer with a major following – for a reported $US100 million.
Business Insider reported that fans of the brand weren’t hugely thrilled about the acquisition.
Art.com is the latest addition to Walmart’s collection of acquisitions.
In a statement, Anthony Soohoo, Walmart US SVP and home group general manager, said that the deal would help Walmart give “customers the inspiration and confidence to make a beautiful home possible for everyone.”
On February, Walmart’s incubator Store No. 8 announced it had acquired Israeli startup Aspectiva. The Tel Aviv-based company focuses on machine learning and natural language processing. In a statement, Walmart said that Aspectiva will help the company “further enhance the end-to-end shopping experience.”
“Store No. 8’s record of innovation and of developing capabilities that will transform retail as we know it makes for the perfect environment to leverage Aspectiva’s technology throughout the shopping funnel,” Aspectiva CEO Ezra Daya said in a statement released by Walmart.
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