Wal-Mart Stores Inc. has launched Wal-Mart Marketplace to bring a million new products to walmart.com and enable a select group of retailers to offer additional products on the site. The goal is to give customers access to expanded assortments in categories such as apparel and accessories, home, baby, toys, sporting goods and sports memorabilia.
Wal-Mart has selected three retailers for the launch of Marketplace. CSNStores.com, which consists of hundreds of specialty stores, from Diaper Bag Boutique to MacLaren Strollers at CSN and Every Room Divider to Shoes Got Soul. The latter offers brands such as Aerosole, Nina, Etienne Aigner and Franco Sarto. The remaining two retailers are Ebags.com, which sells Michael Michael Kors Fulton shoulder bags for $348, Kate Spade Bloomington Liannes, $179.99, and Cole Haan’s Village bucket tote, $348, and Pro Team, a subsidiary of Dreams Inc., which manufactures licensed sports apparel and collectibles.
“It’s been a program we’ve been working on for some time,” walmart.com spokesman Ravi Jariwala said of Wal-Mart Marketplace. “We were very diligent about carefully selecting these partners. It differentiates our program from other programs out there. Rather than open up our marketplace program to everyone, we did our homework to find select retailers known for their customer service and ability to offer large assortments.”
Purchases will be handled by walmart.com’s secure check-out process, with fulfilment, order support, shipping, customer service and exchanges the responsibility of each Marketplace retailer, Jariwala said. “It’s a nice way to extend our assortment and give customers the comfort of walmart.com, which they trust,” she said.
The Wal-Mart Marketplace business model seems similar to Amazon.com, which years ago created a marketplace of third-party sellers. Amazon receives a commission on products sold via its marketplace. Wal-Mart declined to discuss the arrangement with Marketplace retailers. “We don’t disclose details of our partner relationships,” Jariwala said.
While it is similar to Amazon, the Marketplace concept is unique in that it marks one of the first times a retailer like Wal-Mart has opened its Web site to other stores. In most cases, retailers prefer to focus consumers’ attention on their own site rather than promoting others. Target, one of Wal-Mart’s main competitors, originally had an agreement with Amazon for it to run the mass retailer’s Web site, but it is now taking all the operations back in house.
In Wal-Mart’s case, the Marketplace concept will enable it to offer products on walmart.com, via third parties, that it would be unlikely to carry on its own site or in its stores. Walmart.com, which is where John Fleming, executive vice president and chief merchandising officer of Walmart U.S., began with the chain, is generally seen as more progressive than the store operations, often testing products and services on the site long before they appear in the chain’s physical stores, if at all.
Aside from the blue rectangle introducing Wal-Mart Marketplace on the Web site, consumers may not notice anything changes, except that the search for women’s shoes brings up 186 pairs, many more than before. “We wanted to make sure [Marketplace] was well integrated into the experience our customers are already familiar with,” Jariwala said. “You’ll find nearly 1 million new products now woven through our online assortment. We’re extending the number of choices. Based on our relationships with very select Wal-Mart Marketplace retailers, we’re now able to offer this expanded assortment. Dr. Scholl’s and Aerosoles were not found on walmart.com in such depth. There will be more apparel.”
Wal-Mart Marketplace comes at a time when the retailer is gearing up for the holiday season. “We’re certainly seeing customer shopping behavior continue to change and evolve,” Jariwala said. “More customers are shopping both in stores and online. With this launch, it better enables Wal-Mart to serve customers online when they choose to shop online.”
Jariwala said the total number of products carried online is now “several million.”
“Azzedine has been one of the biggest influences in my life. He has always been such a strong, loving, fatherly figure to me. I call him Papa. His designs are indescribably unique, they are pieces of art. He knew how to make the female form look its loveliest. I have so many memories of him; my favorite might be during my first show with him in Paris. He liked me and he wanted to help me get more work. He called all his friends at Kenzo and Comme des Garcons, and asked them to book me. They said, ‘But she can’t walk!’ And he said, ‘but she has such a great ass!' His friendship and support has been the great privilege of my career. I can't imagine life without him. Repose en paix mon Papa.” - @stephanieseymour tells @wwd. #wwdfashion (📷: @steveeichner) #alaia #azzedinealaia
Azzedine Alaïa, flanked by two of his closest friends, models Stephanie Seymour and Naomi Campbell.
He designed Seymour’s dress for her 1995 wedding to Peter Brant, and treated Campbell (who famously called him Papa), like a daughter. For more on the legendary designer, tap the link in bio. #wwdfashion #alaia #azzedinealaia
Azzedine Alaïa's “I-did-it-my-way” ethos stood out starkly at a time when brands are experimenting with consumer-facing fashion shows, coed formats and trans-seasonal collections – anything to perk up lackluster sales of ready-to-wear in an age of Insta-everything. “It’s not creation anymore. This becomes a purely industrial approach,” the late designer told WWD in an interview last year. “But anyway, the rhythm of collections is so stupid. It’s unsustainable. There are too many collections.” Read more about the iconic designer’s life and work on wwd.com, link in bio. #wwdfashion #azzedinealaia (📷: @WWD Archive, 1986) #alaia
Sneaker reselling app @goat’s latest exhibit, "The Greatest: New York," tells the story of New York's sneaker culture. To celebrate the exhibit, an intimate crowd gathered on Thursday night at the pop-up gallery space, located at Platform in Culver City, to hear guest speaker and illustrator @esymai talk about her own rise in streetwear and women in the business. "For me I'm just someone who is creative. I like to create things," said Chang. #wwdfashion
Azzedine Alaïa, one of the most iconic couturiers of the modern era whose body-con designs defined Eighties fashion, has died in Paris. The diminutive Tunisian-born designer, known for his structured knitted dresses with fitted waists and impeccably cut, figure-hugging second skin silhouettes was deeply admired by his peers, and counted supermodel Naomi Campbell - his adoptive daughter - among his inner circle, one of a gang of glamazons including Farida Khelfa, Carla Bruni and Stephanie Seymour who became ambassadors of his style. (📷: Alexandre Guirkinger) #wwdblast