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Walmart inks deal with Meredith to bring AI-enabled meal planning to shoppers

Walmart has teamed with Meredith in a new multichannel effort to expand its ecommerce and social commerce capabilities

Walmart today announced it is partnering with major media corporation Meredith to simplify the shopping experience with new AI and commerce offerings. Here’s what you need to know.

What happened

● In a move to invest further in its ecommerce business, Walmart has teamed with Meredith to bring new content and features meant to bring greater ease and efficiency to the shopping experience.

● In a statement released today, Walmart cited Meredith’s “expertise in food content, hyper-local consumer insights and proprietary technology platform” as valuable assets to bring to the company’s 220 million weekly customers who shop both in-person and online.

● The deal will bring new tools, including visual search, voice-activated assistance, chatbots and AI-based meal planning services to customers. These features aim to simplify grocery shopping for customers by pairing recipes with Walmart products in real time. Customers can add products to their online shopping cart using these features.

● Under the new partnership, Walmart and Meredith will launch the first shoppable “bookazine,” which includes editor-selected recipes and Allrecipes 30 Minute Meals.

● The partnership entails a range of other content and commerce programs including a new Kid Foodology program and TikTok-based social commerce promos, as well as the Make It Easy platform, which surfaces food inspiration and easy recipes for customers who are “stuck in a cooking rut,” per the site’s homepage.

● Shoppers will be able to access these features, content streams and commerce opportunities across the portfolio of Meredith brands, which includes Better Homes & Gardens, Allrecipes, EatingWell, Parents and Real Simple.

● “We know that customers today are increasingly looking to shop in the moment, both on and off our platforms,” said Sarah Henry, senior director of content and influencer marketing at Walmart in a statement released today. “We are focused on meeting customers where they are discovering inspirational content and [enhancing] the customer experience. This partnership with Meredith is an innovative way we can seamlessly help our customers while putting much-needed time back in their day.”

● “This wide-ranging partnership…[reimagines] the shopping experience with highly personalized content and ad experiences that deliver unparalleled value every step of the way,” Corbin de Rubertis, senior vice-president of innovation at Meredith, said in the statement.

Why it matters

● The partnership is likely to benefit both Walmart and Meredith as ecommerce continues its steady climb. Recent eMarketer data suggests that US consumers will spend more than $933bn on ecommerce in 2021, up nearly 18% from last year.

● Investing in both brick-and-mortar retail and ecommerce could help Walmart in particular make the most of the growing trend of hybrid models of retail – which is being pioneered by the likes of Amazon.

● At the same time, consumers are increasingly demanding innovative, shoppable experiences on digital channels. The rise of social commerce and AR-enabled shopping speak to this trend. The new Walmart-Meredith partnership could help both companies aadvance their shopping capabilities and maintain an edge in an increasingly competitive space.

● Amid an ongoing pandemic and the start of the back-to-school season, shoppers may be seeking solutions for simple, time-saving ways to shop and prepare meals. Meredith predicts that views of meal planning-related content will leap 30% across its properties this year compared to last year.

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