"Walmart is investing in e-commerce capabilities through talent, technology and fulfillment. Kevin's passion and deep knowledge of social media align with our focus to engage customers through our digital and physical channels," Walmart Chairman Rob Walton said in a statement.
Though seemingly an unconventional addition, Systrom's directorial appointment is a testament to the retail chain's aspirations around associating its brand name with all that's new and hip in social and mobile. Systrom's social network, purchased by Facebook (FB) two years ago for $1 billion, now has 200 million active users and a reputation for being the preferred digital playground of youngsters. The team-up could spell future collaborations between the corporate and social giants.
Wall Street isn't quite as enamored with the entrepreneurial Systrom as Walmart seems to be. The company's stock was trading down around 1% at $75.74 in the early afternoon.
This isn't Walmart's first stab at digital cachet. The corporation, which touts 250 million weekly customers, operates "@WalmartLabs" in Silicon Valley as an incubator of sorts to pilot experimental social and mobile applications. The company is also a member of Merchant Custom Exchange, which is a consortium of merchants who will support CurrentC, a mobile wallet solution that will allow shoppers to pay by scanning a QR code at checkout.