Wal-Mart Stores Inc. has a relentless and never-ending job. The retailer this holiday season said consumers can view and purchase 23 million items via its site, nearly three times the 8 million available last holiday season. With that deep inventory comes the need for content—and lots of it. From that inflatable kiddie pool to that bag of Twizzlers, Walmart.com must post an image and product data for each item it sells.
Now, Wal-Mart is getting help with gathering all that necessary content—at least when it comes to the dizzying array of food items for sale on its site. Walmart.com, No. 4 in the Internet Retailer Top 500, signed a deal with product image and data exchange company ItemMaster that allows it to access and use product photos and videos from ItemMaster’s database of 82,000 items from 1,700 manufacturers. ItemMaster has deals for content distribution with food brands including The Coca-Cola Co., Kellogg Co. and Danone.
ItemMaster was launched in 2009 by Thomas Parkinson, the co-founder of online grocer Peapod LLC (No. 65) and spun off from the web grocer in March. The company operates a web-based platform that manufacturers pay for to verify, share and manage their product images and content for online and offline distribution. That means shoppers see the most recent images as they are updated by manufacturers, including nutrition and ingredient information and current packaging. ItemMaster says it has been has been working with Walmart.com for the past several weeks to make content available to Wal-Mart.
“We are on a clear path to creating dynamic packaging for the $600 billion food industry in the U.S., which adds immense value to our manufacturer and retailer customers alike,” says Michael Murray, CEO and president of ItemMaster. “Going forward, we see a real opportunity to end the burden of content cobbling by providing visibility into digital content distribution and addressing the expanding product content needs emerging in today’s marketplace.”
More than 1,000 retailers, mobile app developers and other companies use ItemMaster to display content on the web or mobile web, the vendor says.
The deal with Wal-Mart comes on the heels of ItemMaster’s November $7.5 million series A funding round led by Edison Partners and Chicago Ventures. ItemMaster says it plans to use the money to invest in technology, marketing, operations and hiring.