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BizReport : Social Marketing : August 09, 2007

Wal-Mart gets social with back-to-school college students

Wal-Mart embraces social marketing by setting up a Facebook group aimed at marketing dorm room products to college students returning to school.

by Helen Leggatt

walmart_logo2.gifIn the last few months Wal-Mart has introduced various new updates to its online offerings. First it introduced a “Site to Store” service, allowing purchases made online to be collected from a nominated Wal-Mart store. Then it introduced user product reviews.

Now, the world’s largest retailer is interacting with college students, via Facebook, in a bid to boost back-to-college sales. A 2006 study by the National Retail Federation found that the average spend of a first-year college student was $1,112.62, and that the majority of this went on electronics and home furnishings.

"We realize that this is an audience that we need to be talking to, and that this is a channel we need to be on," said Wal-Mart spokeswoman Karen Burk, via Reuters.

Via the “Roommate Style Match” group on Facebook, launched last month, students can download itemized lists of dorm room necessities and furniture, find links to Wal-Mart’s “earth friendly” products website and view music performances via Wal-Mart’s Soundcheck website.

To determine a student’s room-style and produce a list of recommended products the “Roommate Style Match” contains a short quiz.

Tags: college students, Facebook, social marketing, social network, Wal-Mart

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