Wal-Mart launches 3,500 Facebook pages to distribute local offers

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Wal-Mart Stores launched approximately 3,500 store-specific Facebook pages that enable consumers to receive offers and updates from local Wal-Mart retail locations.

The “My Local Walmart” Facebook application enables the Bentonville, Ark.-based merchant to send its roughly 9 million Facebook fans new product alerts, rollback alerts and invitations to in-store events, according to a company statement.

To access My Local Walmart, Facebook consumers must visit Wal-Mart's Facebook page, where they will be prompted to input their ZIP codes and “like” their local retail locations. Consumers will receive alerts from selected stores twice weekly.

“We feel local is the most important thing we can be building toward for social,” said Wanda Young, senior director of digital marketing at Wal-Mart. She added the company will look to integrate this program on all other social media outlets including Twitter. However, no concrete plans are in the works, she said.

Wal-Mart hired a third-party developer to build out the platform several months ago, said Young. She would not reveal the name of the company.

The retailer has made recent digital investments, including the purchase of social and mobile commerce technology service provider Kosmix.

Wal-Mart's e-commerce chief resigned in August after the company reported the past two years that sales at discount stores open at least a year had fallen. U.S. same-store sales, or sales at locations open at least a year, fell by 1.1% during the first quarter of fiscal 2012. The company does not disclose the percentage of sales from the Internet.

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