By Christine Kern, contributing writer
WalmartLabs, the R&D unit of retailer Walmart, has announced the acquisition of loyalty startup PunchTab in order to improve the Sam’s Club customer experience.
PunchTab connects data about in-store activity to customer loyalty and engagement programs and communicates with customers via e-mail, web, and mobile channels.
“PunchTab’s first task is to leverage its software platform to enhance the ways we tailor offers to Sam’s Club members across our clubs, our mobile app and on Samsclub.com. Like most of the technology we build at @WalmartLabs, we plan to apply what we build for Sam’s Club to Walmart’s other businesses, including Walmart.com,” explained Jeremy King, head of WalmartLabs and Jamie Iannone, President and CEO, Samsclub.com, in the announcement.
This marks the 15th tech acquisition for Silicon Valley-based WalmartLabs since its creation four years ago, each part of an effort to improve site search, data analytics, ad technology, and other areas.
As part of the acquisition, founder Ranjith Kumaran, co-founder Mehdi Ait Oufkir and several other PunchTab technologists will join WalmartLabs. The technology will be used to enhance Walmart’s existing customer relationship management tools.
PunchTab allows companies to create a customer loyalty or engagement program, and then collect real-time data based on purchases in-store. Communicating with customers on multiple channels,
WalmartLabs also recently added technology from site-speed optimizer Torbit, data analytics and predictive intelligence startup Inkiru, adtech startup Adchemy, mobile agency Small Society, cloud computing startup OneOps, and many others., according to Tech Crunch.
The unique factor in the PunchTab deal is that it focuses not on improving the Walmart.com website experience, but will be tasked with optimizing how Sam’s Club can better personalize and target offers to its members.
PunchTab was founded in 2001 by Ranjith Kumaran and Mehdi Ait Oufkir, and has worked with Kroger, Arby’s Nestle, and The Yankee Candle Company, among others, to help these companies achieve deeper understanding of their customers’ behaviors in physical stores. According to CrunchBase, PunchTab was backed by $11.5 million by Mohr Davidow Ventures, Chamath Palihapitiya from The Social+Capital Partnership, CrunchFund, Venky Harinarayan, and Anand Rajaraman.
Using PunchTab, companies could create loyalty and engagement programs that collected real-time data by offering users a reward whenever they uploaded a receipt showing that they purchased a particular product.