• Wal-Mart Europe and AOL Europe To Cross-Market Services and Brands
  • AOL Europe and Wal-Mart Take 22.5% Equity Stake in Shopsmart.com
  • ShopSmart Price Comparison Tools Integrated Across AOL UK and Germany Shopping Channel
  • ShopSmart.com Acquires Valuemad.com from Wal-Mart Europe

AOL UK, one of the leading European interactive services companies, and Wal-Mart Europe announced today a four-year strategic marketing agreement.

Under the agreement, Wal-Mart’s ASDA UK operation will distribute disks with AOL UK’s PC-based interactive service in its 240 UK retail stores and the two companies will promote ShopSmart.com’s price comparison services.

As part of the agreement, ASDA and Wal-Mart Europe customers will be offered AOL specially-packaged products, which will help them get online right away. ASDA will be integrated into the AOL UK Shopping, Interests and Lifestyle Channels as a preferred food and drink retailer, and ASDA will have special online promotions on AOL UK for jointly acquired members.

In addition, ASDA will be promoted across the AOL UK service and via special online marketing programs for specific ASDA initiatives.

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By GlobalData

AOL Europe and ASDA also announced that they will jointly take a 22.5 per cent stake in ShopSmart.com, a leading UK shopping directory. ShopSmart.com will receive permanent exposure in ASDA stores in the UK and in Wal-Mart stores in Germany. ShopSmart will become the exclusive integrated price comparison service on AOL UK and Germany, with an additional guaranteed banner package in each country.

Under the agreement, ASDA will secure its stake in exchange for featuring and promoting ShopSmart in its stores in both the UK and Germany and by transferring its shopping comparison facility, Valuemad, to ShopSmart.

ShopSmart.com, the UK’s number three retail site after amazon.com and amazon.co.uk (source: MMXI Europe), offers user-friendly technology that gives online shoppers access to information they need to make informed purchasing decisions.

Karen Thomson, AOL UK Managing Director, stated: “AOL UK is enjoying incredible momentum and member growth, and this exciting new strategic marketing agreement with ASDA and Wal-Mart will help us accelerate that growth dramatically by reaching a broad new audience through its extensive UK retail network and further enriching the AOL member experience.”

Alan Leighton, CEO and President of ASDA and Wal-Mart Europe said: “From ‘bricks’ to ‘clicks’ this deal brings together three companies passionate about building their businesses through an obsession with the needs of their customers.”

Daniel Gestetner, Chief Executive Officer of ShopSmart said: “We are delighted to have two such world-class organisations as shareholders. This agreement will bring the ShopSmart brand to new and experienced users in both the UK and Germany. We are convinced that it will drive our growth in both countries through exclusive in-store promotion in ASDA and Wal-Mart, along with integration into AOL Europe.”

Editors Notes
AOL Europe
AOL Europe is one of the leading multinational Internet, online and e-commerce services providers in Europe. Through its successful multiple-brand strategy, AOL Europe operates the leading AOL, CompuServe and Netscape Online services, AOL Instant Messenger, AOL and CompuServe portals in nine countries and four languages across Europe.

AOL is the service for the whole family, providing its members with interactive education, entertainment, financial and information content while giving access to a global online community. CompuServe is aimed at the corporate customer and ‘new professional’ user offering specialised information, large-scale databases, matchless forums and professional communication tools. Netscape Online, AOL UK’s subscription-free online service, is targeted at the UK ‘value’ sector and provides pure, high-performance Internet access.

As part of its AOL Anywhere strategy, AOL Europe has announced a number of alliances with technology manufacturers and mobile network operators, to extend its world-class content, community and hallmark ease of use to the mobile platform. From the first service launch in 1995, AOL Europe’s multiple brands now reach more than 4 million households across Europe.ASDA / Wal-Mart Europe.

ASDA / Wal-Mart Europe
ASDA is the third largest superstore in the UK, with sales of over £8 billion a year. Its 100,000 colleagues regularly serve over seven million customers a week, across 240 stores nationwide. Its success is based on everyday low prices and a wider range delivered through larger stores and a unique colleague culture.

ASDA pioneered everyday low prices in the UK and its food prices are on average 5-10% lower than those of its main competitors. ASDA was purchased by Wal-Mart, the world’s most successful retailer, 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 is the UK’s number one shopping portal. Originally launched in 1998, the site offers consumers the ultimate in online shopping and is committed to improving the quality of shopping on the Internet. ShopSmart was the first site to introduce comparative shopping in April 1999, the first to introduce stringent criteria for retailers and the first to introduce editorial ratings for shops.

ShopSmart aims to make it easier and safer for the consumer to shop online and gives shoppers the information that they need to buy with confidence. ShopSmart has also launched in Germany and Sweden and is adopting the same philosophy in each new market. In Taylor Nelson’s dotcom weekly awareness survey, published in the June 2000 edition of Campaign, ShopSmart was ranked number 2, after Freeserve.