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Walmart Labs buys Luvocracy social recommendation site

BY Dan Berthiaume

San Bruno, Calif. – WalmartLabs, the division of Wal-Mart’s e-commerce operation dedicated to developing new technology, has purchased Luvocracy, an online community that helps consumers find products recommended by family members, friends and online influencers. 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 its app.

Sixteen Luvocracy employees will join Walmart Labs, including CEO and co-founder Nathan Stoll, VP of design Brooke Thompson, creative director Christine Martinea and VP of engineering Ajay Agrwal.

“We’ve been spending a lot of time with Nathan, Christine, Ajay, Brooke, and the rest of the crew – what an amazing bunch,” said Ben Galbraith, VP of global products, Walmart Labs, in a blog post announcing the deal “I’m so delighted to have them join us, and now we’ll be working together to create more of these fantastic moments when customers find delightful products at great prices. We’re excited to have this super-talented team bring their knowledge and experience to help us redefine the shopping experience of the future. I can’t wait to see the ideas we’ve been cooking up together come to life in our properties around the world.”

This is Walmart Labs’ 14th acquisition since 2011. Terms were not released.

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Jana Partners pressures PetSmart for sale

BY Dan Berthiaume

Phoenix – Jana Partners, the largest shareholder in PetSmart by one million shares with a 9.9% disclosed ownership stake, is pressuring PetSmart to sell the company. In a letter to the PetSmart board of directors, Jana said it will seek to install new, pro-sale board members at the upcoming annual meeting if PetSmart does not start seeking a sale.

“Given PetSmart’s chronic underperformance and significant private equity interest in the company, a sale in this case very likely offers the highest risk-adjusted return for shareholders,” said the letter.

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Study: Health and beauty products best for drop-shipping

BY Dan Berthiaume

Albany, N.Y. – Retailers can maximize revenue from drop-shipping by adding health and beauty supplies while staying away from electronics. By analyzing 750,000 products added by retailers on its merchandising and fulfillment platform in a 12-month period, CommerceHub found that the number of health and beauty supply products grew by 92% while increasing revenue in the product category by 130%.

On the flip side, the number of electronics products increased by 59% while only growing revenue by 15%. Other leading product categories for drop-shipping include bedding & bath (50% increase in SKUs and 57% increase in revenue) and baby & kids (63% increase in SKUs and 78% increase in revenue).

Other lagging categories for drop-shipping include sports & outdoor recreation (18% increase in revenue and 68% increase in SKUs), computers & networking (10% increase in revenue and 39% increase in SKUs), and electronics & entertainment (15% increase in revenue and 59% increase in SKUs).

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