business news in context, analysis with attitude

With brief, occasional, italicized and sometimes gratuitous commentary…

•  Business Insider reports that Walmart "will roll out an alpha version of a video ad format that appears in searches on its website and app … The ads will be sold using a cost-per-click model that charges advertisers each time someone clicks on an ad — a popular way for e-commerce advertisers to buy retail media."

The story notes that "while Walmart already sells on-site video ads itself and partners with adtech firm The Trade Desk to sell video ads outside of its own properties, the new sponsored video units will let sellers promote items based on consumer searches. The new ad format will also appear on the homepage of Walmart's website."

The video ad format is designed to "help Walmart catch up to competitors Amazon and Instacart, who both have similar offerings," the story says.

Interestingly, Forbes has a story looking at the video ad business from Amazon's perspective, saying that the extent of the real estate on Amazon being dedicated to "video content, lifestyle content, and influencer content" suggests that "Amazon is starting to look more like a social media app than ever before."

There's a good reason:  "Amazon is, after all, on track to become the world largest retailer. But the battle for eyeballs is arguably more important for Amazon. More eyeballs means more first-party data: an understanding of what we have been researching, buying, and pining for. Brands selling on Amazon, as well as non-endemic brands like car manufacturers and insurance companies, can leverage this audience targeting data to get in front of their ideal customer rather than wasting budgets on mass-media campaigns with a lot of wastage.

"In this way, Amazon’s foray into making a more immersive, social media-like shopping experience is beneficial to brand advertisers."  And, if it is beneficial to brand advertisers, it will help Amazon become ever more dominant in its business units, and do battle with the likes of Walmart and Instacart.

•  AutoWeek reports that Walmart and Canoo have begun testing the EV vans that the retailer recently signed a contract to acquire:

"The company has already modified its LDV to Walmart's specifications, each offering 120 cubic feet of cargo volume aimed at food and meal delivery. But the vans are otherwise based on Canoo's initial delivery van design, which rides on a skateboard platform that incorporates the battery, motor, and leaf spring suspension. The LDV is designed for high frequency, last-mile deliveries but still offers a range of up to 250 miles—perhaps in excess of what its vans will cover in each 24-hour cycle.

"At the moment, Walmart is testing the Canoo vans in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, ahead of the start of series deliveries in 2023."

Walmart has contracted to buy 4,500 of the Canoo vans.