The push to reach shoppers via mobile devices is creating some strange bedfellows as Walmart (NYSE:WMT) and Alibaba (NYSE:BABA) team up to power an in-app commerce service within mobile messaging app Tango.
Tango Shop is now accessible through a tab at the bottom of the Tango app and is funded by Alibaba, a Tango investor, and Walmart. It will feature roughly 2 million products from from the retailers, ranging from apparel and jewelry to electronics.
"Alibaba and Walmart are dream partners," Eric Setton, co-founder and chief technology officer of Tango, told CNBC. "Our intent is to open up to more partners."
The start-up currently has 300 million users, reported CNBC. Tango users online have access to video chats, casual gaming, photo sharing and live concert streams. Featured products will be produced by Tango's curation program that learns users likes and preferences. Payments and logistics will be handled by the retailers and Tango will take a cut of each transaction, although the percentage was not disclosed, as reported by Techcrunch.
In-feed shopping on social media has been available for a short time, but hasn't been widely used, yet. And the ability for brands and merchants to reach shoppers and sell directly via Facebook's Messenger is a new and tantalizing opportunity for retailers. But Tango's social shopping feature is the first in the United States to offer a service that has proven to be popular in Asia, where mobile adoption is higher.
In China, WeChat is one of the most popular mobile platforms for retailers and Japan's Line is also testing commerce, Techcrunch reported.
Tango is another way for both Alibaba and Walmart to compete with Amazon. Tango's goal is to become a peer-to-peer marketplace in the United States, much like Alibaba is in China.
Alibaba is China's largest retailer and has been investing heavily in mobile, announcing plans in April to open an incubator focused on m-commerce and the mobile Web in India.
Walmart recently launched a mobile app in China and has been building out its mobile presence in the United States with the recent addition of gift registery options to its app.
*A version of this story originally appeared on our sister site FierceRetail.
Walmart's plan to win back shoppers
Walmart open to mobile payment systems besides CurrentC
Walmart and Target app tops with shoppers
Walmart's e-receipt a new mobile platform
Walmart pledges a fresh start