Walmart Labs buys product search company Adchemy

Walmart Labs' 12th acquisition gives its technologies to better tailor pitches to the retailer's 245 million weekly customers.
Written by Larry Dignan, Contributor
amazon fulfillment center
Walmart Labs' acquisitions bring in technologies to fuel the retailer's e-commerce business that battles Amazon. Pictured: An Amazon fulfillment center in Middletown, DE that was built across the road from a Walmart. Credit: Google Street View.

Walmart Labs said Tuesday that it acquired Adchemy, a product search and e-commerce outfit that has more than 60 employees.

The purchase, among the largest for Walmart Labs in terms of headcount, is the 12th acquisition. Walmart Labs has acquired companies largely for talent and technologies.

Walmart's plan is to integrate Adchemy's technologies to better target Walmart's 245 million weekly customers. Walmart's scale means that all it really has to do is keep its brick-and-mortar customers and sell them more stuff via omnichannel retailing to grow. If Walmart can grow wallet share with its existing customer base it can keep Amazon at bay.

Wal-Mart: 16 technology, operations and e-commerce takeaways

For context, Walmart's fiscal 2014 sales were $476.3 billion, up 1.5 percent from a year ago. Amazon's 2013 annual sales were $74.45 billion, up 22 percent from the previous year.

According to a blog post, Walmart Labs now has 2,100 employees. In terms of details, Walmart Labs and the retailer's e-commerce operations aren't material — and won't be for the foreseeable future — to Walmart's results, so profit and losses aren't revealed.

Adchemy has engineers, researchers, and execs from Yahoo and WebEx. Walmart Labs said it has hired 1,000 people in the last year and has steadily been acquiring technologies that are later integrated into Walmart's e-commerce operations.

In addition to Adchemy, Walmart Labs has acquired Yumprint, a recipe and meal-planning service; Torbit, which makes Web acceleration technology; Inkiru, an analytics startup; OneOps, a cloud computing company; Tasty Labs, a social software incubator; Social Calendar, a reminders firm; Small Society, Set Direction, Grabble and OneRiot, companies that built out mobile app strategy for the retailer; and Kosmix, a search company that served as the base for Walmart Labs.

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