2022 has been a year of companies announcing something related to NFTs or the Metaverse, and Walmart has been making the latest headlines. In a recent press release, Walmart announced they would enter the Metaverse in collaboration with Roblox. Is this collaboration targeting a specific audience? How would this step shape the face of eCommerce? What was our experience like in this Metaverse? Keep reading to know more!
What Led To This Step?
The post-pandemic era has been a time when all offline stores pushed themselves to get back the customers they had lost to online competitors. Walmart’s low prices had not been enough to attract more customers.. Despite the online sales depicting a good graph, they were not enough to handle the losses faced by the offline stores, which led to the closing of many underperforming stores in several locations.
Moreover, the U.S. inflation has led to a decrease in its stocks. While it performs well as a grocery, inflation has cost Walmart a tremendous decline in electronics and apparel customers, sales of which yield larger profits.
To step up its game and compete with eCommerce giant- Amazon, Walmart has been trying to woo the younger audience.
“Millennials have [become] a serious focus for Walmart, especially as they start to form families,” – Brandon Fletcher
Moreover, this generation’s young adults earn more than comparable-aged households at any point in the past 50 years. A major factor may be that the increase in household incomes among young adults is partly driven by Millennial women. They are now working more and getting paid more than they were previously.
Therefore, Walmart has decided to boost its sales by focusing on a newer target audience by collaborating with Roblox, whose users match Walmart’s target audience requirements.
How Has Roblox Established Itself In The Metaverse Realm?
Roblox is one of the most prominent names in the Metaverse. Established in 2004, it now has 47 million daily active users worldwide and 9.5 million developers who create “experiences,” also known as user-created games and worlds.
The gaming giant focuses on creating an immersive world within existing gaming technology, in contrast to its competitors who invest in new technologies such as AR or VR.
Roblox’s success is due to its reliance upon the creator community. This creates all the experiences in-game. These can range from walking a fashion show to playing cops and robbers.
Metaverse needs to be both immersive and social. Roblox has shown that it checks both of the requirements well.
An Immersive Platform for Gamers
With experienced 3D animators and game developers on board, Roblox took immersive gaming to a new level. The game developers use certain photography principles to make the worlds feel more alive. For example, one can use the technique of forcing perspective to create optical illusions that blur perspectives and generate rich, immersive environments.
Roblox showcased a new format for in-game advertising at its Roblox Developers Conference. The immersive ads, which will go live next year, include the ability to build 3D portals that allow players to travel to virtual worlds.
Socializing in the Roblox Metaverse
In Roblox, the social side is made from the unique characters that players can create using their avatar, the social graph of who they hang out with, and the economy of the Metaverse where players buy, sell, and trade goods among one another using an in-game currency called “Robux.”
Roblox has been scaling up a Marketplace that lets creators sell items with Robux. The monetization play comes as Roblox’s growth cools following a surge in interest earlier in the pandemic.
Prior Collaborations for Marketplace
Many companies have used Roblox as their Metaverse of choice. These include fashion brands like Gucci, Gap, and Nike companies which have recently run activations tailored to the platform.
Brands that have hitherto worked the Roblox preferred the established game purveyor’s experiences rather than making their own from scratch. For a spring campaign, American Eagle unified a club into Livetopia, an existing role-playing game on Roblox that has drawn over 1.5 billion visits.
The most recent addition to this list is Walmart. The famous shopping chain plans to feature a blimp that drops toys, a music festival with famous artists, various games, and a store of virtual merchandise termed “Verch,” similar to what customers may find in Walmart’s stores on its website.
The Walmart-Roblox Metaverse
The well-known retailer promises to offer a toy-dropping airship, a music festival with well-known performers, a variety of games, and a “Verch” store of virtual goods comparable to what shoppers can find at Walmart shops and on the retailer’s website.
Walmart entered the Metaverse with two new experiences that debuted on the online game platform, Roblox, on 26th September 2022.
These two experiences are namely; Walmart Land and Walmart’s Universe of Play. The spaces provide customers with unique interactive information and entertainment, bringing to life the best of Walmart’s “isles” in a virtual environment.
Walmart Land will deliver the greatest in fashion, style, beauty, and entertainment to the global Roblox community of over 52 million daily players.
It will have a virtual shop of items, or “Verch,” for your avatar unlockable tokens and badges that can be gained via different activities and contests and a physics-defying Ferris wheel that gives users a bird’s-eye view of the world.
Walmart Land begins with two major attractions designed exclusively for the next generation of customers, i.e., Gen Z.
- HOUSE OF STYLE: House of Style will include goods from brands like af94, UOMA by Sharon C., ITK by Brooklyn & Bailey, Lottie London, Bubble, and others, as well as a virtual dressing room, a strike-a-pose challenge, an enormous cosmetics obstacle course, and a roller-skating rink. This will engage the younger gaming community, which is the target audience of Walmart.
- ELECTRIC ISLAND: Electric Island, inspired by the world’s greatest music festivals, including an interactive piano walkway, a dancing challenge, a D.J. booth where users may learn to mix different rhythms, and finally, a Netflix trivia experience with Noah Schnapp.
Debuting in October, users can jump back into Electric Island for ‘Electric Fest,’ a motion-capture musical celebration including performances by prominent musicians such as Madison Beer, Kanye West, and YUNGBLUD.
Walmart’s Universe of Play
To attract its target audience, Walmart has introduced a world of toys that will engage young players.
Explore diverse toy worlds to earn coins for fascinating virtual products, perform spectacular tasks to construct a personal trophy cabinet, uncover secret codes, and more.
- Universe of Play will use e-mobility products such as hoverboards that an avatar may utilize to travel quickly through the universe. Users will come across a Sharper Image drone that will assist them in discovering the season’s trendiest toy world.
- Users may immerse themselves in five new games, including items and characters from L.O.L. Surprise!, Jurassic World, Paw Patrol, Magic Mixies, and Razor Scooters.
- The users will be able to attempt and gather as many virtual toys as possible to gain money that can be redeemed for their avatar’s verch. Toys will be scattered throughout the event, and a Walmart blimp will drop toys regularly.
The aim is that children would play these games, become enthused about these toys and companies, and then pester their parents to buy these items from Walmart. A similar strategy is applied in the other Roblox universe, which contains a massive obstacle course with goods from Walmart’s Gen-Z-focused beauty and make-up brands. There’s also a virtual dressing room where you can try on garments and accessories from Free Assembly, the company’s own fashion collection.
How Will This Step Affect The Future Of eCommerce?
TikTok, Twitter, and YouTube have all featured shoppable live-streaming events organized by the big-box store. It has also launched an augmented reality-powered Pinterest service that allows customers to visualize how furniture or décor might appear in their own houses.
The main of such steps is to develop community engagement. As more and more audiences get engaged, the outlet will get more customers.
Just like Gucci, Nike, and Gap’s collaboration with Roblox, Walmart, too, can change the face of eCommerce. Brands can collaborate with metaverse platforms to engage more audiences for their products.
Using the Metaverse can bridge the gap between the physical and virtual worlds. This will merge online and offline commerce into one major platform. Therefore, users can experience the real world digitally through the Metaverse.
According to surveys, 70% of customers believe in the ability to touch, try and feel the product they are purchasing. This can be solved in the Metaverse, which will accomplish this with the help of Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality.
In this way, Metaverse can completely revolutionize the world of eCommerce by being an immersive experience for shoppers. Slowly, customers will be able to access more and more brands in the Metaverse. We can also expect this to become the ‘new normal of shopping.
Our Experience In The Walmart-Roblox Metaverse
As a shopping platform, Walmart Land has a lot to offer. There are three major areas, namely, the Central Area, Shopping Complex, and the Electric Island.
You begin off in the central area where all the users are present. Users can walk or teleport via portals to the shopping complex or electric island. The shopping complex features a life-like shopping center where you can try on different clothes. The Electric Island showcases a stunning piano staircase and is set to host the Electric Fest, featuring live performances by popular artists. Many areas are, however, unreleased.
Alongside this, it also features a gravity-defying Ferris Wheel and a Tram that takes you on tours of Walmart Land while providing a bird birds-eye view of the same.
Walmart’s Universe of Play features five gaming sections based on five different companies of toys. This area is basically for the kids who love these specific cartoon characters and would like to see a world filled with toys of the same.
As a gamer who uses Roblox, our experience in the Walmart world was comparably dull. While the world does include a lot of visually enticing elements but from the perspective of gaming, it can be quite confusing for a first-time user.
To conclude, this venture of Walmart and Roblox holds a lot of potential to change the Metaverse and its relation to eCommerce. The eCommerce field can evolve into a revolutionary platform by stepping into the Metaverse. Using Roblox to woo young customers is an innovative idea, and where there is innovation, there is Walmart. The store’s idea to attract its next generation of shoppers via the Metaverse may lead to skyrocketing sales. In fact, its shares went up by 2% right after the announcement.. However, it is too soon to predict the future of Walmart in the Metaverse right away.