Live Twitter shopping feature with Walmart arriving during holiday shopping season

Twitter shopping feature with Walmart will be tested this weekend, giving users a chance to buy products.
By BLOOMBERG
| Updated on Nov 23 2021, 12:23 AM IST
Twitter has been looking for ways to expand its business to decrease dependency on digital advertising.
Twitter has been looking for ways to expand its business to decrease dependency on digital advertising. (MINT_PRINT (AFP))

Twitter Inc. will test a live shopping feature on its social network this weekend with Walmart Inc., giving users a chance to buy products promoted during a real-time video broadcast as part of a push into businesses beyond advertising. Walmart, the world’s largest retailer will be the first company to sell via the new tool during a live event on Nov. 28, making a test run over the weekend that traditionally kicks off the holiday shopping season. The retail giant will broadcast on the Twitter app with musician Jason Derulo, and users will be able to browse a product catalog while watching the live video, Twitter said Monday in a blog post. Clicking to make a purchase will send viewers to Walmart’s website to complete a transaction. 

Executives of San Francisco-based Twitter earlier this year said they see shopping as a business opportunity, though the effort has yet to be expanded beyond a handful of experiments. Twitter announced a “shop module” in July that let a small number of retailers add products to their Twitter profiles, a program that went offline after a test period and will be reintroduced next month. The company isn’t processing payments or taking a cut of any transactions.

Twitter has been looking for ways to expand its business to decrease dependency on digital advertising, which accounts for 89% of sales. The company also recently launched a monthly subscription product.

Live shopping has become a popular testing ground for social networks looking to capture some of the online retail business. Meta Platforms Inc., which owns Facebook, is also offering live shopping, and Pinterest Inc. launched a similar service earlier this month. Google’s YouTube is also pushing harder into live shopping this holiday season in hopes of stealing some online sales away from Amazon.com Inc.

Walmart Takes New Step Toward Making Aerial Deliveries Routine

(Bloomberg) -- Walmart Inc. is expanding its efforts to offer aerial deliveries to homes, joining with startup DroneUp LLC to began dropping off items ranging from cans of tuna to children’s thermometers.

The flights are limited for the moment to 1 nautical mile (1.15 miles or 1.85 kilometers) from a base outside a Walmart store in Farmington, Arkansas. But the service will be offered in the coming months at additional Arkansas locations in Rogers and Bentonville, where Walmart has its headquarters, the companies said in a statement on Monday.

The goal is to eventually provide service over longer distances.

“I think it’s a very significant leap both for our industry and for the retail industry,” DroneUp Chief Executive Officer Tom Walker said in an interview.

While routine, widespread product deliveries conducted by robotic drones are still years away, the Walmart announcement shows how serious the retail industry is about the potential for this new form of deliveries amid the rise of online shopping.

Alphabet Inc.’s Wing LLC subsidiary last month announced plans to begin using its small aircraft to deliver goods from a Walgreens in suburban Dallas. Amazon.com Inc. is developing what it calls Prime Air and United Parcel Service Inc. has also begun pilot drone delivery programs.

So far, however, the efforts have been limited as the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration develops regulations to oversee longer-range flights and works to develop a low-altitude air-traffic system to safely guide the new craft.

In the Walmart-DroneUp partnership, for example, the drone operator or some other human observer must keep the aircraft in sight at all times, according to an FAA waiver granted to the company last June.

“We’re already hearing great customer feedback at our first site in Farmington, Arkansas, and look forward to opening additional locations,” Tom Ward, a senior vice president at Walmart, said in a press release.

Four cans of tuna fish were the inaugural delivery on Nov. 15, Walker said. The company charges $10 per delivery, but is trying to lower costs by improving efficiency, he said.

Walmart invested in DroneUp earlier this year.

Walmart is also experimenting with aerial deliveries offered by other providers. In a new service unveiled last week, Zipline is making on-demand deliveries of health and wellness items such as non-prescription medication and diapers in Pea Ridge, Arkansas.

Last year, Walmart started drone delivery of grocery and household items from its stores in Fayetteville, North Carolina, by teaming with Israeli startup Flytrex.

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First Published Date: 23 Nov, 12:23 AM IST
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