Walmart continues to make the case that it is the world’s top digital innovator: The company detailed an aggressive Metaverse plan that includes two immersive experiences it is offering in the Roblox Metaverse platform.
Called Walmart Land and Walmart Universe of Play, the two experiences deliver interactive content and entertainment. Walmart Land includes fashion, style, beauty, and entertainment items available to Roblox’s 52 million daily users. Universe of Play is a virtual toy destination.
Consider the lead-up to this most recent initiative, and it should become clear why Walmart is being discussed in the class of the world’s top digital innovators:
- Supply chain/inventory breakthroughs, supported by its technology strategy, that place it ahead of the troubled retail sector and are supporting strong business performance
- A foray into industry cloud software
- Advertising and commerce partnerships with TikTok, Snap, and Roku
- Personalization, omnichannel integration, and more features on the Walmart website and app for better customer experiences
- Virtual try-on technology designed to make consumers more comfortable with clothing purchases
- Simple holiday charitable giving options for customers through Walmart.com
Acceleration Economy analyst — and our resident Metaverse expert — Kieron Allen says Walmart’s targeted approach is a good one. “Roblox is an interesting choice as, demographically, it certainly appeals to younger users, but Walmart has clearly made a clever strategic decision here. One of the worst things a company can do when entering the Metaverse is to generalize because the ecosystem isn’t developed enough to welcome generic propositions,” Allen says. “Instead, you have to be specific and targeted. With its Universe of Play, Walmart is focusing on a particular demographic and product area, and its plans align accordingly.”
Walmart Chief Marketing Officer William White explained the company’s strategy as a customer experience and engagement initiative. “Roblox is one of the fastest growing and largest platforms in the Metaverse, and we know our customers are spending loads of time there,” White said. “So we’re focusing on creating new and innovative experiences that excite them, something we’re already doing in the communities where they live, and now, the virtual worlds where they play.”
Details: Walmart’s Metaverse Push
Walmart Land immersive experiences include a virtual store of merchandise (“verch”) for users’ avatars. There’s a Ferris wheel that gives users a bird’s eye glimpse of the world, as well as tokens and badges that can be earned in games and competitions. The three available experiences include:
- Electric Island features an interactive piano walkway, a dance challenge, a Netflix trivia experience, and a DJ booth where users can learn to mix music. It’s inspired by popular music festivals.
- House of Style includes a virtual dressing room, a strike-a-pose challenge feature, an oversized cosmetics obstacle course, and a roller skating rink. It also offers products from a variety of cosmetics companies.
- Electric Fest is a motion-concert celebration featuring performances from popular artists.
“Roblox is an interesting choice as, demographically, it certainly appeals to younger users, but Walmart has clearly made a clever strategic decision here. One of the worst things a company can do when entering the Metaverse is to generalize, because the ecosystem isn’t developed enough to welcome generic propositions.”Kieron Allen, Acceleration Economy Metaverse analyst
Through Walmart’s Universe of Play, the Roblox community can explore toy worlds to earn coins for virtual goods or complete challenges to build a personal trophy case or unlock secret codes. Universe of Play features:
- Immersive games: Users can engage with five new games that offer experiences with products and characters from Jurassic World, Razor scooters, and more.
- Rewards: Users can try to collect as many virtual toys as they can to earn coins that can be redeemed for their avatar ‘verch.’ A Walmart blimp will drop toys throughout the environment.
- Virtual adventures: E-mobility items, including hoverboards, will let users travel rapidly through the universe. A Sharper Image drone will help them discover the current season’s hottest toy world of the current season.
While lots of brands have made at least initial forays into the Metaverse, none has the size, scale, or clout of Walmart, the world’s biggest company with a fiscal 2022 revenue of $573 billion. That makes its move one that provides significant validation for the Metaverse and one that retailers and brands will have to follow closely for its impact as well as user response.
At the same time, it’s another indication of Walmart setting the pace for digital innovation well beyond the retail industry.
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