Walmart in the ad business? You bet.

If you are a marketer with products on the shelves of Walmart, you know that specifically targeting Walmart customers has always been a challenge. The retailer’s new Walmart Media Exchange (WMX) makes that chore easier.

Amazon and other e-commerce powerhouses have been nibbling away at Walmart and other brick-and-mortar retailer sales for years. Amazon has offered manufacturers selling their wares via the online retailer the ability to run digital ads on the site to boost awareness and sales. WMX is Walmart’s response.

Walmart is America’s top retail chain with 4,500 stores, 250 million weekly customers and $288 billion in sales in 2014. Easily overlooked, Walmart also operates the third largest retail website with 61.4 million unique visits per month. There are more than five million items for sale on the Walmart site, accounting for $12.2 billion in 2014 sales.

But a big name and a busy website are only half of the story. Walmart owns the proprietary data on every purchaser through data captured either with your barcode scans or with online checkout. If you use a credit card as payment, Walmart can tie what you purchase with you and your buying habits (and likely your e-mail) for extraordinary targeting by a manufacturer. Even if you just browse Walmart.com, the site captures the data and cookies your search. Thus, WMX now offers a new path for targeting a Walmart customer.

Targeting opportunities include in-store and online purchase behavior, online browsing behavior, in-market category browsers for geo-targeting down to the zip code, search term targeting, social traffic and mobile homepage and category ad placement. WMX also offers contextual integration based on an online user’s search with articles, tips, recipes and videos.

WMX has emerged as a new revenue stream for a retailer best known for selling everything from cereal to Calamine lotion. Selling ad space to its suppliers is the first step in the retailer’s adjustment to an online retail space. Walmart is now investing heavily in developing an even greater e-commerce presence to combat Amazon.

For now, if you have been stymied at effectively targeting Walmart shoppers, contact us and we’ll be happy to share more info on WMX.