Walmart is taking a bold leap into the metaverse after teasing customers since the start of the year. The shopping conglomerate has unveiled two different experiences for shoppers: Walmart Land and Walmart Universe of Play.
Walmart’s offering leverages Roblox, a global virtual gaming platform, to make the service available to customers. The partnership has been designed as a “testing ground” for Walmart to fine-tune its metaverse strategy, particularly for younger Millennials and Gen Zs.
The virtual experiences from Walmart’s Universe of Play will allow users to play games drawn from top-selling toys like Paw Patrol and Jurassic World characters during the holiday season. On the other hand, Walmart Land features an obstacle course made up of oversized products from makeup and skincare brands with a firm focus on female shoppers.
“How are we driving relevance in cultural conversation? How are we developing community and engagement? How are we moving the needle from a brand favorability [standpoint] with younger audiences?” said William White, Walmart’s Chief Marketing Officer.
Walmart’s push into the metaverse and distributed ledger technology (DLT) is predicated on the need to boost its revenues after earnings fell during the pandemic. Since then, shoppers’ habits have changed, and in line with the increasing digitization, Walmart is seeking greater interaction across social media and gaming websites.
The shopping giant says it is not looking to make money off its metaverse foray, but this could all change in the future. In the coming years, Walmart might consider charging brands for an advertisement spot in its immersive world or convert the experiences to online purchases or real-world store visits. Presently, users of the virtual world have a chance to earn tokens on Roblox, which can be used to buy other virtual merchandise on Roblox.
Laying the foundation
Last year, Walmart dropped the first signs that it was considering a move into the metaverse by filing several trademarks with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). The patents revealed that the big-box retailer was mulling over releasing digital assets like non-fungible tokens (NFTs), and the details contained in them indicated an elaborate plan from Walmart.
“There is a lot of language in these, which shows that there’s a lot of planning going on behind the scenes about how they’re going to address cryptocurrency, how they’re going to address the metaverse and the virtual world that appears to be coming or that’s already here,” trademark lawyer Josh Gerben said.
Roblox has carved a name for itself in the immersive experiences ecosystem with a deep pool of high-profile partners ranging from Nike, Ralph Lauren, NASCAR, and Forever 21.
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