In its ongoing struggle to lure Web shoppers from Amazon.com, Wal-Mart has picked up a new ally: messaging start-up Tango.
As of Tuesday, consumers in the U.S. can shop for 2 million products—everything from apparel and jewelry to electronics—via Tango. A shopping tab will appear on the service allowing users to purchase products from Wal-Mart and Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba.
The start-up has 300 million users, who turn to the app for Skype-style video chats, casual games, photo sharing and to watch the occasional live concert.
Wal-Mart, the world's largest retailer, needs all the help it can get when it comes to online commerce. With Web traffic moving to mobile, and with Amazon owning the most popular shopping app, Wal-Mart has to start getting creative. The stock is down 9 percent this year.
For Alibaba, the Tango deal offers another way to potentially crack the U.S. market. Alibaba, already a major investor in Tango, is selling goods through its AliExpress division.
"Alibaba and Wal-Mart are dream partners," said Eric Setton, co-founder and chief technology officer of Mountain View, California-based Tango. "Our intent is to open up to more partners."