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Walmart Buys Mobile Developer Small Society

  |  January 4, 2012   |  Comments

Retailer's @WalmartLabs initiative continues to expand.

Walmart has purchased Small Society, a Portland-based mobile developer that's built apps for Starbucks, Amazon, Whole Foods, ZipCar, the Democratic National Committee, and others. Financial terms were not disclosed in an announcement on the retail giant's @WalmartLabs blog earlier today. Small Society's team will join an existing @WalmartLabs location in Oregon, according to the post.

Launched in 2011, @WalmartLabs is designed to create technologies that propel the multi-channel brand as a social-mobile commerce player in the years to come. The company also appears to be mounting an agency-like infrastructure that could bypass vendors, keeping some digital marketing development in-house at the Bentonville, AR-based big box merchandiser.

In late summer, the retailer acquired OneRiot, a Boulder, CO-based firm that uses interest-level data from Twitter, Facebook, and other social media channels to target online ads. And last spring, Walmart bought social media and search platform Kosmix.

Small Society was among the startups to receive support from Wieden+Kennedy's startup incubator Portland Incubation Experiment, which ClickZ covered earlier this year. One of the mobile developer's founders, James Keller, was previously an interactive strategist at W+K.

Paul Cousineau, VP of mobile products at Walmart, stated in the aforementioned blog post that "if you live 100 miles from the nearest Walmart but want everyday low prices shipped to your front door, we want to be your mobile experience […] be it iPhone, iPad, or Android."


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Christopher Heine

Christopher Heine was a senior writer for ClickZ through June 2012. He covered social media, sports/entertainment marketing, retail, and more. Heine's work has also appeared via Mashable, Brandweek, DM News, MarketingSherpa, and other tech- and ad-centric publications. USA Today, Bloomberg Radio, and The Los Angeles Times have cited him as an expert journalist.

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