Walmart Inc. is making its first move into the metaverse.
Starting Monday, the retailer will unveil two immersive experiences on Roblox Corp.’s virtual platform. Walmart Land will feature fashion, beauty and entertainment items, while Walmart’s Universe of Play will showcase toys, the company announced.
Walmart follows companies from Nike Inc. to VF Corp. in a bid to get consumers’ attention via virtual universes, where elements of video conferencing, gaming, social media and e-commerce blend together. Roblox has a community of more than 52 million daily users, and many of them are younger people, who are particularly valuable targets for corporate powerhouses.
“This is the first major initiative that we have in the metaverse,” William White, Walmart’s chief marketing officer, said in an interview. “This is another step for us in reaching our customers in unexpected ways.”
Walmart Land will offer a virtual store where Roblox users can use badges and coins earned on the platform to buy merchandise for their avatars. There will also be a “physics-defying Ferris wheel” that provides a bird’s-eye view of the virtual world, plus unlockable tokens and badges that can be earned in games and competitions.
Walmart Land will initially feature an experience similar to a music festival along with a fashion-oriented “House of Style” that includes a virtual dressing room and an oversized cosmetics obstacle course. In October, it will add a motion-capture concert with performances from singers such as Madison Beer and Kane Brown.
Universe of Play is designed to let Roblox users explore toy worlds and earn coins for virtual goods. It will offer games featuring products and characters from Jurassic World, Paw Patrol and other entertainment brands.
Since debuting last year, Nikeland has gotten about 21 million visits while VF’s Vans World has had around 81 million. White will be watching the results in Walmart’s virtual worlds as the company hones its strategy in the metaverse and tries to entice users to move beyond avatars and shop at Walmart’s stores and website.
“It will be a great opportunity for us to build relevance, build cultural conversation, and to develop a community with Gen-Z and our younger audiences,” he said. “All these things lend themselves to more brand equity.”
By Brendan Case
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