The retail giant’s first foray into the virtual world will feature a blimp that drops toys, a music festival with hot artists, various games, and a store of virtual merchandise, or “verch,” which matches what customers may find in Walmart’s stores and on its website.
Walmart is experimenting with new ways to reach shoppers, particularly after seeing the pandemic shake up shopping habits and fuel consumers’ engagement with social media, apps, and gaming websites. The big-box retailer has hosted shoppable livestreaming events on TikTok, Twitter and YouTube. It has created meal recipes through a partnership with Meredith, the media company that owns Allrecipes, Parents and Better Homes & Gardens. It has also rolled out an augmented reality-powered tool on Pinterest that enables shoppers to see how furniture or decor would look in their home.
Roblox will serve as a testing ground for Walmart as it considers moves in the metaverse and beyond, said William White, Walmart’s chief marketing officer. He said the experiences are designed with the next generation of shoppers in mind, particularly Gen Z, generally defined as around age 25 or younger. White said the company is looking to learn from the partnership that includes –
How are we driving relevance in cultural conversations ?
How are we developing community and engagement ?
How are we moving the needle for brand favorability with younger audiences ?
As well, Walmart quietly filed for metaverse-related trademarks earlier this year regarding making / selling virtual goods and offering users virtual currency, as well as non-fungible tokens or NFTs. While Walmart won’t be making money from its immersive experiences, people can earn tokens and other rewards to put toward virtual merchandise. National brands, such as toy label L.O.L. Surprise! and Skullcandy headphones, were included in the experiences based on their popularity with gamers. A consideration to generate new revenues is for Walmart to charge a brand for inclusion or trying to turn people’s virtual experiences into real-world store visits or online purchases.
Walmart Land’s October virtual concert, “ Electric Fest ” features Madison Beer, Kane Brown and Yungblud and is trying to connect the dots between the virtual and physical worlds.
Universe of Play has games that feature items from Walmart’s top toy list for the holiday season — like Razor scooters and Paw Patrol and Jurassic World characters — a potential nudge to get Roblox users to ask for them. As well, Walmart Land has an obstacle course of oversized items from the retailer’s Gen Z-focused beauty brands, such as skin-care products from Bubble and makeup from Uoma by Sharon C, and a virtual dressing room with apparel from its exclusive fashion lines, such as Free Assembly.