How Walmart Plans to Become an Advertising Powerhouse

Retailer’s U.S. advertising arm has big plans for upcoming year
Emily Crowe, Progressive Grocer
Walmart Connect is making major strides in connecting customers, sellers and suppliers.

With the ever-increasing importance of retail media, Walmart has spent the past several years ramping up its internal advertising prowess. Walmart’s global advertising business reached $2.1 billion in the fourth quarter ended Jan. 28, and active U.S. advertisers using Walmart Connect increased 136%. On March 30, the retailer shared an update on how Walmart Connect, the U.S. arm of its global advertising business, plans to innovate this year. 

In a company blog post, Walmart Connect SVP and General Manager Rich Lehrfeld describes the connections the company is making between its customers, suppliers and sellers. “Our mission at Walmart Connect is to help brands and sellers meaningfully connect with these customers on their shopping journey – wherever that occurs – to find the right product or discover a new one,” Lehrfeld wrote. 

To that end, Walmart Connect plans to expand the touchpoints where customers can be reached, as well as the types of ad formats used, through CTV, video and omnichannel experiences at self-checkout screens, in-store events, sampling and TV Walls. The company will also offer premium advertising experiences on by the end of the year, to include new video and onsite ad units.

The company will further use automation to help suppliers and sellers more efficiently reach customers on their own terms. “We recently rolled out Display Self-Serve to our first phase of advertisers, giving them more speed, flexibility and control with their display campaigns,” Lehrfeld explained. 

There will also be an expansion of the Walmart Platform Partner program to help sellers scale, automate and optimize their search campaigns, and the recently launched Walmart Demand Side Platform (DSP) is being introduced to more advertisers and allows them to purchase offsite inventory in one place.

Improving targeting and search capabilities is one of the company’s major areas of focus this year, Lehrfeld wrote, explaining that doing so will give advertisers more impact and give customers a better experience. Expanding its measurement capabilities across its portfolio will also offer a stronger end-to-end offering, Lehrfeld explained.

We’re laser-focused on evolving Walmart Connect’s solutions to help advertisers make every media moment a retail moment, by connecting with customers in a meaningful way at any point in their shopping journey,” Lehrfeld concluded. “The future of Walmart Connect is brighter than ever and I’m excited about what we’re creating with our suppliers, sellers and partners to stand at the forefront of retail media – and transform the shopping experience for Walmart customers.” 

Bentonville, Ark.-based Walmart operates approximately 10,500 stores under 48 banners in 24 countries, and e-commerce websites, employing 2.2 million-plus associates worldwide. Walmart U.S. is No. 1 on The PG 100, Progressive Grocer’s 2021 list of the top food and consumables retailers in North America.

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