Walmart and Social Commerce.

One of the advantages of being the worlds largest retailer, is ability to take risks where others can’t, or won’t. Risk taking leads to innovation and Walmart thinks it’s worth a $300 million to find out how social and mobile commerce is going to pan out.

On Monday Walmart signed a definitive agreement to acquire Kosmix, underscoring its commitment to social and mobile commerce. Walmart plans on using Kosmix “Social Genome” platform to help fuel and drive in-store purchases via social networks connected via mobile devices.

“We are expanding our capabilities in today’s rapidly growing social commerce environment. Social networking and mobile applications are increasingly becoming a part of our customers’ day-to-day lives globally, influencing how they think about shopping, both online and in retail stores. We are excited to have the Kosmix team join us to accelerate the development of our social and mobile commerce offerings. Eduardo Castro-Wright, Walmart’s vice chairman.

Kosmix’s innovative technology platform searches and analyzes connections in real-time data streams to deliver highly personalized insights to users. The platform powers TweetBeat, a real-time social media filter for live events with more than five million visits last month;, a site to discover social content by topic; and RightHealth, one of the top three health and medical information sites by global reach.

Other retailers should be asking themselves what are they planning on doing in the new mobile social space? How they can use real-time data to leverage and improve the overall experience for their customer? This kind of thing is much more complex than a strategy for something like foursquare, and it is going to require building and experimentation with a variety of platforms, which won’t come easy or cost nothing. You have to hand it to Walmart for being smart enough to take the plunge. What will be more interesting is to see who recognizes the importance of what Walmart has done, and follows their lead. The potential here is huge for anyone will to take the risk and go for it.

“The world of social media is exploding and for millions of consumers their social connections matter hugely in their daily lives.  Our work has focused on developing a social genome platform that captures the connections between people, places, topics, products and events as expressed through social media — be it a feed, a tweet or a post. We are thrilled to join one of the world’s largest companies and combine our work with Walmart’s vast online and offline retail businesses.”  Anand Rajaraman, co-founder of Kosmix.