Wal-Mart Stores Inc. has made its 13th acquisition through @WalmartLabs, its research and development and innovation center in California’s Silicon Valley. The retailer purchased Stylr, a fashion app that allows users to search for apparel in nearby stores.
This story first appeared in the June 18, 2014 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
The app gives users the experience of flipping through racks of clothes on a smartphone. It also enables shoppers to pull items in their size and reserve them using the store’s own interface.
The Stylr app has grown to feature clothes from retailers such as Neiman Marcus, Nordstrom and Saks Fifth Avenue, names not usually associated with Wal-Mart, which has insisted its apparel strategy begins and ends with basics.
The terms of the deal were not disclosed.
Wal-Mart’s existing app helps shoppers find products in its stores and tracks their spending. Wal-Mart won’t integrate Stylr into its own app, but rather will take from it best practices and other learnings. Stylr founders Eytan Daniyalzade and Berk Atikoglu will join @WalmartLabs. “As part of the mobile team at @WalmartLabs, Eytan and Berk will focus on developing further enhancements to the in-store experience,” a spokeswoman said.
“Over half of Wal-Mart smartphone users have used their device in-store to assist with their shopping, and with 80 percent of our customers under the age of 35 owning a smartphone, we expect this to grow dramatically,” @WalmartLabs wrote on its blog. “We are excited to serve these customers with indispensable digital tools that bring the convenience of online shopping into our physical stores and integrate our online and offline experiences.”
Wal-Mart has been aggressively launching new technology, such as the Savings Catcher app, which looks for and matches local competitors’ ads and returns to consumers any difference in price on an eGift card. Another platform, eReceipts, helps facilitate store returns and paves the way for future innovations such as eCoupons and automated shopping lists. The Stylr app will be removed from the Apple app store by the end of the month.