NEW YORK Reuters -- Walmart may launch a platform that will use social media influencers to help the retailer and its 100,000 third-party sellers promote their goods and services online, according to trademark filings.
Walmart filed trademarks for Walmart Creator and Walmart Creator Collective, which would provide social media consulting and the promotion of goods and services through influencers, according to the July 27 documents seen by Reuters.
Walmart is currently working with influencers to promote its groceries and apparel, as well as its Walmart loyalty program. Influencers can recommend products by posting affiliate links on Instagram, YouTube and TikTok. When a customer uses the link to make a purchase, they earn a commission.
Influencer marketing is expected to grow into a $16.4 billion industry by the year 2022, according to Influencer Marketing Hub. Companies file trademarks for many reasons and filings do not always lead to a company launching a new product or service.
Walmart hasn't said anything about its plans for Walmart Creator and Walmart Creator Collective.
Walmart's third-party sellers can purchase ads from Walmart Connect, the retailer's digital advertising business. Walmart Connect made $2 billion in revenue for its ads business last fiscal year, the company said during its February earnings call.
It has been a priority for Walmart to grow its e-commerce business, including its delivery subscription service Walmart Plus, with plans to launch new services for sellers, the company said during its fourth quarter earnings call in February. Walmart currently has nearly 240 million items online by the end of 2022, and said on Tuesday that its second quarter U.S. e-commerce sales jumped 12% since last year.
Walmart CEO Doug McMillon said on Tuesday that the relationship between digital growth, marketplace growth, and advertising is something we're trying to take advantage of.
Walmart's global advertising business, comprised of Walmart Connect and its India-based e-commerce company Flipkart's ads, grew nearly 30% year-over-year. Since last year, the number of active advertisers has increased by 121%, according to the company's earnings call.
Since 2017, Amazon has offered social-media influencers the chance to create their own online pages for certain products sold on Amazon.com's marketplace. The influencers earn commission for every product purchased from their page.
Matt Gilbert, the chief executive of business partnerships software firm Partnerize, said Walmart wants to capitalize on advertisers' moves to spend more of their budgets on the creator economy. Danielle Wiley, chief executive of influencer marketing agency Sway Group said that influencers depend on Walmart for revenue through affiliate dollars. It is going to benefit both sides if the company can make it easier for influencers to create content.