- Sam's Club, the warehouse club business owned by Walmart, entered an agreement to acquire the proprietary technology stack and some of the team members from WPP agency Triad, according to Ad Age. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.
- Employees making the switch over to Sam's Club worked on the brand's account at Triad, and touch across account management, creative, analytics and information technology. The two organizations originally formed a partnership in 2007, though Walmart first started working with the agency in 2004, per Ad Age.
- Technology included in the deal was developed to help run Sam's Club's digital retail media program and has proved successful on that front, Triad CEO Sherry Smith said in a statement around the acquisition.
Snapping up some of Triad's assets helps "round out" Sam’s Club's in-housing of its digital advertising services, according to Tony Rogers, the brand's chief member officer. The deal is another sign that doubling down on digital media capabilities is top of the agenda at Walmart, which dealt Triad a considerable blow when it decided to bring its website ad sales and analytics work in-house earlier this year. That process has hit some technical snags, frustrating advertising partners, as Ad Age previously reported.
Walmart was Triad's largest client and comprised most of its business, though the agency continues to work with several large retailers, including CVS, Staples and Wayfair. Triad has felt additional pressure from WPP, which purchased the firm in 2016 and integrated it into the performance marketing arm of GroupM. WPP reportedly tried to sell off Triad entirely earlier this year — Target was at one point said to be in preliminary talks to acquire the business — and filed a lawsuit against its prior owners and three former executives in November, according to Ad Age.
Triad's technology and talent still held clear appeal for Sam's Club, as developing those types of services internally can be costly and time-intensive in a market that is demanding accelerated digital transformation.
Sam's Club and Walmart ramping up efforts to strengthen their internal digital media expertise and tech stacks comes as other bets in the digital space encounter headwinds. E-commerce is increasingly critical to Walmart amid a growing war with Amazon, but the big-box retailer is expected to lose up to $1 billion on its online business this year, Recode reported.
Earlier this week, Bonobos founder and former CEO Andy Dunn announced he was departing as Walmart's head of digital consumer brands, Retail Dive reported. Bonobos, a digitally focused men's apparel brand Walmart acquired in 2017, experienced a round of layoffs this fall.
Previously, Walmart sold ModCloth, the e-tailer it purchased just two years ago, in October. The Information later that month reported that Walmart is considering a sale of Vudu, the on-demand video service it bought in 2010, as part of a bid to recenter focus on its core business areas.