24/7 Wall St. TV: Wal-Mart Online: Beauty And Cheap Shipping

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It just got a little harder to be in the health and beauty retail business either in stores or online. Wal-Mart (NYSE:WMT) has started to sell products from a e-commerce section that covers personal care items, beauty products like lipstick and nail color, and vitamins.

According to CNBC, Wal-Mart has shown the items at Walmart.com but customers had to go to stores to get them.

Whenever Wal-Mart does anything quietly, competitors and analysts ask “Why now?”

The easiest answer may be that with the holiday season coming Wal-Mart wants to get more people to come to its website to shop. According to comScore, Wal-Mart already has the 23rd most visited site in the US and it had 32.8 million unique visitors in August. Getting some of those people to buy one things instead of just visiting is worth a great deal of money. Getting even a small portion of those visitors to buy two things is an e-commerce bonanza.

Wal-Mart recently announced its “100 Toys Under $10″ holiday promotion. It is open to conjecture whether Wal-Mart makes money on those items, even if they are made inexpensively in China. The same question of profitably holds true when the world’s largest retailer offers health products with $.97 shipping. It may only be a way to get people online or through a store door so that Wal-Mart can sell them a few other items

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Executive editor:  Philip MacDonald