Walmart.com keeps building its arsenal of specialty retailers and experiences.
Walmart Inc. on Thursday said it plans to acquire the assets of Art.com, the world’s largest online retailer of art and wall decor. The price of the deal wasn’t disclosed. The company said it will operate Art.com as a stand-alone and complementary site, and add its vast assortment to walmart.com, Jet.com and Hayneedle.com.
Art and wall decor is critical to completing the interior design of a home, Walmart said, adding that “the $10 billion annual market in the U.S. is fundamental to winning the home.”
The Bentonville, Ark.-based behemoth began to transform its digital shopping experience 10 months ago when it relaunched the home category with an emphasis on higher quality and trend-right products, editorial-style images and technology for browser ng for items called, “discovery.” Apparel was reimagined last spring with elevated photography and a storefront for Lord & Taylor.
Walmart’s specialty businesses allow the retailer to appeal to different consumer segments through different channels. A Premium Outdoor store bowed on walmart.com in August, curated by Moosejaw, one of the digital native brands the retail giant acquired in 2017.
Art.com, which offers more than two million images from posters to reproductions of famous works to emerging artists, fits into Walmart’s strategy of buying companies that strengthen walmart.com and Jet.com by enhancing an assortment and category’s expertise such as the Shoes.com and Moosejaw acquisitions.
Walmart e-commerce senior vice president and group general manager Anthony Soohoo said Art.com offers an opportunity to “expand the art assortment and bring in category expertise.” Walmart.com hired Eoin Comerford, Moosejaw’s chief executive officer, who took on the role of general manager of outdoor at Walmart U.S. e-commerce after the acquisition was completed.
Art.com has developed technology to help consumers visualize art on their wall before making a purchase. “There’s a high level of uncertainty with how it will look. Art.com has technology, including an augmented reality feature on its mobile app that allows customers to move a cell phone camera toward their wall and insert an image to see how it will look in their house,” Soohoo said.
Walmart.com has a mandate to develop technology that enhances and improves shopping online. Walmart.com launched a 3-D virtual shopping tour and Buy the Room feature for the home category to give consumers a more elevated and inspiring shopping experience. Moosejaw launched at a recent outdoor show an immersive v-commerce (commerce enabled by VR) adventure that transported customers to a Yosemite National Park camp site where they could try out camping equipment in the wild.
“We’ve been building a lot of momentum,” Soohoo said. “This is just the beginning. We’re just focusing with each effort on improving customer experience.”