…or acqui-hires Luvocracy. According to TechCrunch, @WalmartLabs acquired a solid roster of talented peeps with pedigrees including Yahoo, Blurb, and eBay. They reportedly plan to use this talent to improve their own site’s product discovery, building off of Luvocracy’s past as a sort of cross between social recommendations, wish lists, and Pinterest. Sort of like Wanelo or Svpply.
Walmart has been on the prowl lately, with this acquisition marking the R&D arm’s14th startup purchase. Recently, they’ve been clearly focused on ecommerce and mobile innovation. Still fresh is the June acquisition of fashion commerce and discovery app Stylr.
I don’t hate it as a strategy. In fact, there was just a Mobile Marketer article published on this topic exactly. Big brands are putting their financial resources to good use by acquiring top talent who have innovative ideas and technical skills. It has become increasingly apparent that the expertise needed is in mobile and social, two areas where perhaps traditional retailers are struggling to keep up. The traditional retailers may not have the culture, perks, location, or thought leadership to attract top talent in these areas but are able to adapt in the shorter term via acquisitions.
It will be interesting to see how smaller brands or brands with fewer resources work around and compete with the likes of WalmartLabs and Nordstrom, which I wrote about recently.
One thing is for sure: mobile and social aren’t going anywhere. I think this was a solid acquisition.
Here is some coverage so far:
WalmartLabs Acquires Kleiner Perkins-backed Luvocracy, a Pinterest-like Marketplace for Product Recommendations (TechCrunch)
Walmart Buys Shopping App Luvocracy (InvestorPlace)
Wal-Mart buys another tech start-up, Luvocracy – only to shut it down (WSJ MarketWatch)
Wal-Mart on the Prowl to Boost Web Expertise (Women’s Wear Daily)