AOL UK and Wal-Mart Europe have announced a new four-year marketing deal. Under the agreement, Wal-Mart’s Asda UK will promote AOL’s PC-based interactive service in its 240 retail stores and the two companies will promote ShopSmart.com’s price-comparison services.
Asda and Wal-Mart Europe customers will be offered AOL products to encourage them to get on-line right away.
AOL Europe and Asda will jointly take a 22.5% stake in ShopSmart.com, a UK shopping directory, which will become the exclusive price comparison service on AOL UK and Germany.
Karen Thomson, AOL UK managing director, stated: “AOL UK is enjoying incredible momentum, and this exciting new agreement will help us reach a broad new audience.”
Alan Leighton, CEO of Asda and Wal-Mart Europe said: “This deal brings together three companies passionate about building their businesses through the needs of their customers.”
Daniel Gestetner, CEO of ShopSmart said: “We are delighted to have two world-class organisations as shareholders. This agreement will bring the ShopSmart brand to users in the UK and Germany.”
AOL Europe is a multinational online and e-commerce services provider, which operates CompuServe and Netscape Online services, AOL Instant Messenger, AOL and CompuServe portals in nine countries and four languages. It provides its members with interactive education, entertainment, financial and information and gives access to a global online community. The company’s brands now reach more than 4 million households.
Asda is the third largest superstore in the UK, with sales of over £8 billion a year. Its 100,000 colleagues serve over seven million customers a week, across 240 stores nationwide. Asda was purchased by Wal-Mart in July 1999. With almost 4,000 stores worldwide, Wal-Mart serves almost 100m customers each week in the US, Mexico, Puerto Rico, Canada, Argentina, Brazil, China, Korea, Germany and Britain.
ShopSmart.com was the first site to introduce comparative shopping, the first to introduce stringent criteria for retailers and the first to introduce editorial ratings for shops. ShopSmart has also launched in Germany and Sweden.