At this year’s National Retail Federation conference, Walmart unveiled a few titillating numbers for their self-congratulatory named, Walmart Smart Network.
Presenting with their media and content partner, Studio Squared (which is essentially a chimera of Walmart, The Martin Agency and Media Vest) they unveiled some compelling sales lift numbers for their end-cap program.
According to marketing director and Smart Network general manager James Beck, the company’s online media program delivers 1 billion ad impressions per month to an audience of 32 million monthly unique visitors – visitors spend an average of 15 minutes on the site each visit.
Allegedly when that program is COUPLED with the Smart Network the digital media program has a monthly reach of between one-third and one-half of the U.S. population.
Bill McMullen, general manager of Studio Squared who works with suppliers to develop campaigns for the Walmart digital media program shared a couple of specific case studies..
- a breathing-strip manufacturer purchased an endcap campaign, in which a 90- to 120-second message ran on endcap screens with product positioned around it. While the program was running, the brand saw a 100 percent sales lift on the specific product, determined by testing versus a control group
- the retailer wanted to increase the number of shoppers that opted in to receive discounts and offers via SMS. It staged a four-week campaign in which shoppers were told that if they’d sign up by dialing a specific code, they’d get exclusive announcements of new “Rollback” offers. During the four-week period, the retailer saw a three-fold increase in daily opt-ins
Not surprisingly, the sales lift numbers are pretty impressive and it’s compelling stuff BUT I’m asking myself a few questions about the relevance of these numbers when it comes to the overall Smart Network.
I don’t think it takes a rocket scientist to figure out that if you put a compelling enough commercial on a screen next to that product, you’re going to lift sales.
The question is, how is the rest of the network performing. How are the vertical screens in food and grocery lifting sales? What about screens at checkout? What about the much lauded ‘Welcome Screen‘ at the entrance (a kind of digital greeter without the drawl) How are they measuring those, other than with viewership numbers?
There are a few realities about “end-cap tv” that should be pointed out. Walmart stocks millions of products and launches hundreds of new products on the shelf every week, and if you’re lucky enough to be chosen for an end-cap program, then you’ll also find yourself with a healthy sales lift number!
The reality is you can’t of course give every product in the store an end-cap display, so how are all those other ads performing? Brands are spending money all over the Smart Network, I’d like to know what the RIO is on those other screens.
I’m glad Walmart are sharing these numbers, but right now it’s like McDonald’s touting the healthfulness of their salads when we all know it’s all about the Big Mac.