Virtual worlds

Walmart takes its first step into the metaverse with virtual worlds on Roblox

Walmart Inc. takes its first step into the metaverse.

Starting September 26, 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 feature toys, the company said.

Walmart is tracking businesses from Nike Inc. to VF Corp. with the aim of attracting the attention of consumers via virtual universes, where elements of video conferencing, games, social media and e-commerce are mixed. Roblox has a community of over 52 million daily users, and many of them are young people, who are particularly valuable targets for large corporations.

“This is the first major move we have in the Metaverse,” Walmart Chief Marketing Officer William White said in an interview. “This is another step for us to reach our customers in unexpected ways.”

Walmart Land will feature a virtual store where Roblox users can use badges and coins earned on the platform to purchase merchandise for their avatars. There will also be a “physics-defying ferris wheel” that offers an overview of the virtual world, as well as unlockable tokens and badges that can be earned in games and competitions.

Walmart Land will initially feature a music festival-like experience as well as a fashion-focused “House of Style” that includes a virtual locker room and an oversized cosmetic obstacle course. In October, it will add a motion capture concert with performances by singers such as Madison Beer and Kane Brown.

Universe of Play is designed to allow Roblox users to explore toy worlds and earn coins for virtual goods. It will feature games featuring products and characters from Jurassic World, Paw Patrol and other entertainment brands.

Since its debut last year, Nikeland has received around 21 million visits while VF’s Vans World has seen around 81 million. White will see the results in Walmart’s virtual worlds as the company refines its strategy in the metaverse and tries to entice users to move beyond avatars and shop in Walmart’s stores and website.

“This will be a great opportunity for us to build relevance, create cultural conversation, and build community with Gen Z and our younger audience,” he said. “All of those things lend themselves to more brand equity.”