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Luminate, Connect Merging

Coupon Provider Ibotta Surges in IPO

Read 'Luminate, Connect Merging'

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Walmart is enhancing its retail media network by integrating category performance metrics into Walmart Connect, its advertising platform.

This new feature, known as Walmart Luminate Insights Activation, offers a unified view of consumer trends and category performance, enabling suppliers to craft targeted, data-driven media strategies.

Scheduled to be available to all Walmart Luminate Charter subscribers by year's end, this integration will facilitate targeted display ads based on precise customer data, aiding in holiday sales and 2025 planning.

Walmart also announced several enhancements to Walmart Connect aimed at increasing its utility for CPG advertisers. These enhancements include expanded in-store experiences, self-serve capabilities, and media partnerships, including one with TikTok.

Other new Connect/Luminate features slated for 2024 include onsite display access, in-store attribution for sponsored search ads, brand lift measurement, and comprehensive market analysis.

Walmart is also set to offer more advertising placement options, enhanced ad creation capabilities, and later this year, access to a new API for its Creative Builder tool which uses machine learning to optimize ad creative.

These initiatives are part of Walmart’s broader strategy to provide more robust advertising solutions to its partners and solidify its presence as a leading player in the retail and e-commerce sectors.

Ibotta, a digital rewards company backed by Walmart, saw its shares soar by 33% during its debut on the New York Stock Exchange last week. The strong opening boosted Ibotta's market valuation to $2.7 billion.

The company, which had initially set its IPO price range between $76 to $84 per share, eventually raised $577.3 million from the public offering. This was an increase from its earlier target of $472 million, revised to approximately $551 million just days before the IPO.

Proceeds from the IPO will be used to enhance its AI-enabled technology to improve digital promotion capabilities for advertisers.

The company's platform, the Ibotta Performance Network, reaches over 200 million consumers and allows for highly targeted digital promotions based on detailed consumer purchase history.

Founded with support from major brands like PepsiCo, Nestle, and Coca-Cola, Ibotta has experienced significant growth, reporting a 52% increase in revenue year-over-year in 2023 and a net income margin increase of 12%.

Walmart is also making its proprietary artificial intelligence-driven route optimization technology, aimed at helping businesses cut transportation costs and reduce emissions, available to suppliers.

The software helps optimize driving routes, pack trailers more efficiently, and minimize unnecessary mileage. Developed by Walmart Global Tech and Walmart Commerce Technologies, this move marks Walmart's expansion beyond retail into selling software as a service (SaaS).

The technology allows suppliers to bypass the development phase and leverage immediate benefits, according to Walmart. The software has helped Walmart avoid 94 million pounds of CO2 emissions and eliminate 30 million unnecessary miles.

The specific savings for customers using Walmart's route optimization technology will vary depending on several factors, including the nature of their operations. Walmart has engaged with various potential clients, including fleet operators and companies in the lumber and medical devices sectors, although no specific clients using the software were disclosed.

While Walmart faces stiff competition from established route optimization vendors like Route4Me, LogiNext, and C.H. Robinson Worldwide’s Navisphere Optimizer, it views this step as part of its broader strategy to diversify its business operations.

The retailer now identifies as an advertising business, data company, financial services provider, and more. This diversification aims to enhance Walmart’s impact across various sectors.

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