Giant Retailers Blogging About Products

Posted on March 6, 2008

Wal-Mart Check outMajor retailers like Amazon.com and Wal-Mart are using blogs as a way to showcase some of their products and generate interest in new products. Wal-Mart has a blog called Check Out which is written by a team of experts at Wal-Mart and Sam's Club. Seattle Times writes that Check Out provides a window into the opinions of Wal-Mart's tastemakers.
The result is an intensely personal window into the lives, preferences and quirks of the powerful tastemakers at Wal-Mart, the nation's largest retailer, who have spent years shielded from public view.

Their decisions about what makes it onto Wal-Mart's shelves have enormous effect, earning (or costing) vendors millions of dollars. It was a blogger on Check Out, after all, who first disclosed last month that Wal-Mart would stock only high-definition DVDs and players using the Blu-ray format, rather than the rival HD DVD system. The decision was considered the death knell for HD DVD.

On the blog, Marvin Deshommes, a merchandise manager in the lawn and garden department, tells readers that he belongs to the Christian Life Cathedral church. His favorite quote from the Bible is Luke 12:48 -- "To whom much is given, from him much will be required."

Joe Muha, a video-game buyer, discloses that Ayn Rand is one of his favorite authors. Danielle Pribbernow, a toy buyer, talks about her cat, Sierra.

Wal-Mart says the Web site helps buyers solicit quick feedback from consumers on the merchandise -- and shows a softer side of the giant company, which has 5,000 stores, 1.2 million workers and annual sales of nearly $400 billion.

The concept is similar to Amazon.com's Daily Blog where Amazon.com's editors discuss cool products and products in the news. Wal-Mart's been behind some lame projects in the past such as the lame social network called The Hub and a travel flog. This latest blog is much better than those failed PR stunts. Wal-Mart's Check Out blog does have comments and you can read the comment policy here.