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Thursday, Aug. 9, 2007 at 6:06 am

Wal-Mart’s New Face

By Bryan Eisenberg
August 9th, 2007

walmart_facebook.jpgThe world’s largest retailer is embracing the conversation. Just recently Wal-Mart added customer reviews to Yesterday, Wal-Mart launched the “Roommate Style Match” group on Facebook, with the hopes to engage Facebook‘s college-age customers.

Wal-Mart said it expects to keep the “Roommate Style Match” Facebook group active until October 31, in hopes of capturing a good chunk of the back-to-school spend. According to a study conducted last year by the National Retail Federation, the average first-year college student spent $1,112.62, mainly on electronics and home furnishings.

The Wal-Mart Facebook group is being launched a month after Wal-Mart launched its “Site to Store” program, which lets customers order products on its Web site and have them shipped to a local Wal-Mart store for free.

The activities in this group let you take a quiz to determine your dorm style. You’ll then be given a list of items (sold at Wal-Mart) that are recommended for you, based on your style. These recommendation lists are downloadable, and also provide direct links to Wal-Mart’s retail site. To make it social, though, you’ll also be able to mesh styles with your roommate. Promoted in this group are eco-friendly products, as well as “Soundcheck” which is Wal-Mart’s website showcasing musical performances from singers like Bon Jovi and Mandy Moore.

Hopefully college students will have more luck joining the group than I did. I did a search for “Roommate Style Match” on Facebook and could not find the group. (Anyone who does, please add a link in the comments.)

I wonder how receptive college students will be to Wal-Mart’s new group. With the exception of this one, most groups found searching for Wal-Mart are quite uncomplimentary. How would you rate their chances of success in fostering conversation?

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Comments (4)

  1. Just logged in on Facebook and did a search “Wal-Mart”. The first result is “Wal-Mart College 07″ which is the Wal-Mart campaign we’re talking about. It had 64 members when I viewed it a couple of minutes ago.

  2. Thanks Vladimir. Ahhh but the name of the group is just “Wal-Mart”. It was practically invisible. Nothing cool or even just “Wal-Mart College ’07.” They just have that in their image. The anti-Walmart group has almost 1300 members. Let’s keep an eye on it.

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Bryan Eisenberg, founder of FutureNow, is a professional marketing speaker and the co-author of New York Times and Wall Street Journal bestselling books Call to Action and Waiting For Your Cat to Bark and Always Be Testing. You can friend him on Facebook or Twitter.

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