One important way to boost your Black Friday sales by getting buzz on social media. And if you’re looking for a winner in this strategy, look no further than the nearly 1 million people talking about Walmart (WMT) on social media.
According to data analytics provider Thinknum, the world’s largest retailer’s Facebook (FB) mentions have been blowing up lately, surpassing 800,000 this week. This compares to the nearly 100,000 mentions competitor Target (TGT).
Thinknum also observed that Walmart’s Twitter following recently crossed 1 million.
Considered the retail industry’s “Super Bowl,” the Black Friday annual shopping bonanza is the biggest day for Walmart. The big-box retailer kicked off its online event on Wednesday at 10 p.m. ET and its in-store event on Thanksgiving Day at 6 p.m. local time. This is the second consecutive year for Walmart starting two hours earlier online than prior years and comes as retailers are scrambling to compensate for a truncated holiday sales calendar.
According to BlackFriday.com, many of the deals on Walmart.com were sold out fast on Wednesday night, including the Apple AirPods, Apple Watch Series 3 (GPS) 83mm, the Google Home Mini, Nintendo Switch, and Roku Ultra 4K HDR Streaming Player.
“Millions of customers joined us online and in stores across the country for our Black Friday event. Our most popular deals included our great assortment of TVs from brands like Samsung, onn. and Philips, Ryan’s World and Frozen toys (DIS), and Apple (AAPL) AirPods,” Walmart’s chief merchandising officer Steve Bratspies said in a statement.
To lure customers in-store amid the big crowds, Walmart showcased its retail tech with the year-old Check Out With Me service that allows customers to bypass the long checkout lines in some of the heaviest trafficked areas of the store, like the garden center or electronics department.
“On top of the incredible deals, customers found it easy to shop for items on their wish lists with our updated Store Map available in the Walmart app. And, we saw a lot of shoppers saving time using Check Out With Me, an easy way to avoid lines and check out right in the aisles with our associates,” Bratspies said.
This year, Walmart has continued to deliver strong earnings results, driven largely by the strength in its e-commerce business.
During the most recent quarter, online sales in the U.S. skyrocketed 41%, driven by the retailer’s online grocery business. The retailer expects to offer free same-day grocery pickup from more than 3,100 stores by the end of the year and feature same-day grocery delivery at more than 1,600 stores.
The strength in e-commerce is also helping the in-store experience. Customers are visiting the nearly 4,000 stores more often and they’re spending more too.
Shares of Walmart were last trading up 0.72% at $119.62 during the shortened session. The retailer’s stock has been on a tear this year, gaining 26.5% year-to-date.
Julia La Roche is a Correspondent at Yahoo Finance. Follow her on Twitter.