Customers can choose from more than 400,000 songs at Wal-Mart's Web site, which burns the songs onto a CD and ships it to the customer. "The customer orders music from the online catalog and chooses the title and cover art to personalize the product before the order flows through the system to the production facility where the CD is produced," says Kevin Swint, Walmart.com's director of media categories.
The company's Northern California IT department, along with an unnamed company, created the online music service, Swint says. It ties into Walmart.com's "download platform on the back end, so human intervention isn't required until the CD is packaged by hand." The first three songs cost $4.62; each additional tune costs 88 cents. In-store kiosks equipped with computers linked to Walmart.com also are being tested in select stores.
The custom-CD site is an addition to Walmart.com's downloadable music site and shows that retailers are finding new ways to capitalize on the move to digital media. For example, Starbucks Coffee Co. rolled out a service in select coffeehouses in October that lets customers burn CDs.