US retail giant Wal-Mart and AOL UK have taken a minority stake in ShopSmart.com, the price comparison website.
The duo have acquired 22.5 per cent of ShopSmart, in exchange for marketing and promotional considerations in the UK and Germany.
Wal-Mart trades as Asda in the UK, and ShopSmart will replace Asda's existing web portal Valuemad. It will also be AOL's exclusive shopping comparison portal in the UK and Germany. ShopSmart will be promoted in Asda's 250 UK stores and Wal-Mart's 100 German outlets.
ShopSmart enables consumers to search online through its directory of more than 2000 online stores for the best deal on a range of goods and services, such as concert tickets, holidays and clothes. The website, which also operates in Sweden, offers reviews of the online stores.
The deal should significantly boost traffic to the ShopSmart website and reduce its marketing costs. The company has invested heavily in marketing and has just spent £500,000 on promoting its brand in London alone through 10 taxis 'decorated' with slogans, as well as advertising on buses and poster sites. Previously, it sponsored Channel 5's film season for a year and has advertised in magazines.
Established in 1998, ShopSmart generates money through advertising and a small fee charged to retailers whenever a surfer clicks through to their shopping services. The company is thought to be planning a flotation in the next 18 months.
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