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Media Post’s Marketing Daily reports that Wal-Mart’s Internet business is preparing to unveil new services later this year that are designed to get online shoppers more engaged with its website – and “engagement,” it seems, is the key metric that the company is seeking. CMO Cathy Halligan tells Marketing Daily that while 75 percent of the retailer’s brick and mortar shoppers also go online, too few of them are going to its website, apparently because they are not satisfied with the “engagement” options available to them there.

Engagement, Marketing Daily writes, “gives retailers the means to monitor more closely what consumers say about the brands they sell, so employees can quickly respond. For, it switches success metrics solely from transactions to engagement, as more information about consumer preferences comes through blogs, wikis, social network sites and videos.” And while the company did create a system last year that allows shoppers to dialog online about purchases they’ve made at Wal-Mart, this is seen as just the first step in a much more sophisticated strategy.

"We are evolving with our customers to enhance our experience online by including more direct levels of engagement," Halligan says. ""We are evolving with our customers. Our customer community is a fortunate asset that we can learn from."

KC's View:
Welcome to the new world, where just making sales isn’t enough.

The questions that every retailer ought to be asking himself or herself are these:

Do we have a Chief Engagement Officer? Do our big thinkers even know what engagement is? And what are our strategy and tactics for dealing with this new reality?

And finally, make this assumption – that if you’re not working on engagement strategies, your chief competition is.