Apparently it does take two to tango. Or in Tango’s case, it took a retailer and an eCommerce giant as partners to help the popular messaging service launch its way into mobile commerce with its new Tango Shop, the online shopping site.
Tango Shop is a new shopping feature that launched yesterday (May 12) with the help from partners Walmart and Alibaba. This partnership will extend Tango’s reach into the mobile shopping side as its 300-some million users can now browse and shop on Walmart.com or AliExpress via the Tango shopping app, CNET reported. In the app, shoppers also have the ability to share items from their virtual shopping experience with their other Tango friends.
This deal not only allows Tango a path into mobile commerce, it allows Walmart and Alibaba a share at another group of active mobile users to boost their mobile shopping figures. Alibaba, in particular, has kept its focus on securing mobile shoppers as it looks to expand its already strong mobile commerce audience. Alibaba has already been a major investor in Tango, along with other messaging apps, and owns a majority stake in the company. Alibaba also has a major investment in Snapchat, which the eCommerce giant recently dropped $200 million into.
“The mobile shoppers are there and we want to get as many diverse products in front of our customers as fast as we can,” Chi-Chao Chang, vice president of Tango Labs, told CNET. “It’s important for us to enter the mobile commerce space with credible partners.”
In another interview, he also shared a little more about how Tango’s messaging service is different than Snapchat or Facebook Messenger, which are both in the early stages of payment systems on their chat apps.
"We think payments is a means to an end,” he told Re/code. “People don’t wake up every day thinking about who they are going to pay. They wake up every day thinking about who they are going to talk to and about buying something for themselves or someone else."
While Alibaba seems to be a logical partner, the Walmart addition in this case seems, at least on the surface, to be a more peculiar one. But just like the major eCommerce players, the bricks-and-mortar retailer is looking to grow its sales both online and through its mobile site. Walmart’s fourth-quarter earnings showed that it’s turned its focus away from expanding its storefronts and more toward igniting its mobile strategy. In its Q4 earnings, Walmart reported that nearly 70 percent of Walmart.com Web traffic in the U.S. came from mobile during the holidays. But the gap between mobile browsing and mobile buying is still one that retailers like Walmart are facing. Walmart said it’s looking to address that issue on a global scale by investing more in its mobile products.
And that might just be what attracted Walmart to partner with Tango in its new mobile commerce play. But only time will tell if the two very different eCommerce players will be enough for Tango to make a significant mark on mobile shopping.