In April of 2011, Walmart purchased app developer Kosmix and launched @WalmartLabs, an e-commerce division of the retail company. Since then, @WalmartLabs has acquired three other mobile development companies, including the most recent purchase of Small Society.
The @WalmartLabs project has been developed as a way for the retailer to build presence in social media and mobile devices.
“The first generation of ecommerce was about bringing the store to the web. The next generation will be about building integrated experiences that leverage the store, the web, and mobile, with social identity being the glue that binds the experience,” said Anand Rajaraman in a blog post when @WalmartLabs was launched.
This appears to be Walmart’s latest effort to integrate both social media and ubiquitous smartphones into the shopping experience in Walmart stores.
@WalmartLabs has been developing much of its portfolio through purchases and acquisitions of other development companies. The first purchase that was used to create @WalMartLabs was Kosmix, a company that categorized the web into topic areas and encyclopedia-like display, which shows the relationship between the topics. Grapple, a mobile point-of-sale app creator, was also purchased by @WalmartLabs. OneRiot, which creates location-aware mobile advertisements, was the third purchase. These companies are all mobile commerce, e-commerce and mobile shopping focused.
@WalmartLabs purchase of Small Society is yet another very targeted purchase. Small Society has built a business developing smartphone apps for some huge brands, including Starbucks, ZipCar and the Democratic National committee. The app development portion of @WalmartLabs will likely integrate all four of these companies, and perhaps more. @WalmartLabs has a listing of 25 available jobs, and the commerce giant will likely be integrating these e-commerce tools ever more deeply.
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