Walmart buys social shopping app Luvocracy

WalmartLabs, Walmart's (NYSE:WMT) technology division, has made another acquisition, and this time it's social shopping site and app, Luvocracy.

Luvocracy is among a host of similar sites that lets users upload and share images. Ben Galbraith, VP of global products at equated the user experience to that of flipping through a catalog, back when there were catalogs.

"In the retail business, we thrive on these moments—on finding products we think our customers will love and introducing them to each other," Galbraith said. "Whether in pages, pixels, or aisles, facilitating such moments is at the very core of what we at Walmart do. Founded three years ago, Luvocracy was one of the first companies to enable the entire social shopping experience—from discovery to commerce—to occur within the four walls of its app."

Walmart is busy building omnichannel capabilities. It already allows shoppers to order online and ship to stores, and there's even a test of in-store kiosks that lets shoppers order online from a Walmart supercenter and have the items transferred to a nearby Neighborhood Market for pickup (the very first such order included at least one canoe).

When it comes to mobile investment, Walmart has been busy. The retailer's Walmart to Go test in Denver lets shoppers order online or from a mobile device and pick up groceries at a designated, freestanding location—without leaving their car.

WalmartLabs has been busy as well. Luvocracy is the company's 14th acquisition: In June, the retailer acquired Stylr, a mobile app that lets shoppers find apparel items in nearby stores.

This, like many of its acquisitions, is very much one of talent. Walmart will gain 16 members of Luvocracy's team, including CEO and Co-founder Nathan Stoll; VP of Design Brooke Thompson, formerly a senior director of design at Yahoo; and VP of engineering Ajay Agrawal, who previously held roles at Blurb, eBay, Microsoft and Oracle.

Luvocracy Creative Director Christine Martinez brings some important social media skills to Walmart. The Pinterest "Power Pinner" has more than 5 million followers and has authored "The Complete Idiot's Guide to Pinterest Marketing."

Walmart plans to shut down Luvocracy's site and incorporate the company's services into its own.

*This story originally appeared on FierceRetail's sister publication FierceMobileRetail

For more:
-See this @WalmartLabs blog post
-See this ZDnestory

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