On Monday, Walmart will add two new experiences to the online gaming platform Roblox.
The retail giant's first step into the virtual world will include a music festival with famous singers, a blimp that drops toys, a number of games, and a store of virtual goods, or "verch," that looks just like Walmart's stores and website.
The two experiences to do are Walmart Land and Walmart's Universe of Play.
Walmart is trying out new ways to connect with customers because the pandemic has changed how people shop and made them use social media, apps, and gaming websites more.
The big-box store has put on live streaming events that can be bought on TikTok, Twitter, and YouTube. It has come up with meal plans by working with Meredith, the media company that owns Allrecipes, Parents, and Better Homes & Gardens. Also, it just put out an augmented reality app on Pinterest that lets people see how furniture or home accessories will look in their own homes.
William White, Walmart's chief marketing officer, says that Roblox will be used as a testing ground for moves in the metaverse and elsewhere. He said that the experiences were made with the next generation of consumers in mind, especially Gen Z, which is usually thought to be people under 25. White says that the company hopes to learn something from the partnership.
"How can we encourage meaningful cultural dialogue? How can we get people involved and give them a sense of belonging? He asked, "How are we going to get younger people to like the brand more?" After all, we are working toward that here.
Walmart filed a secret trademark application about the metaverse at the beginning of this year. Some of the trademarks showed interest in making or selling virtual products, virtual currency, and non-fungible tokens, or NFTs, to users.
White wouldn't say if or how Walmart would use these trademarks.
He said that Walmart won't make money from its immersive experiences right now. On Roblox, gamers can earn tokens and other rewards that can be used to buy virtual goods.
He said that national brands like Skullcandy headphones and the toy company L.O.L. Surprise! were added to the experiences because younger Roblox gamers asked for them, not because they paid for them.
White said that Walmart might try to make money off of it in the future by charging a brand to be included or by trying to turn users' virtual experiences into real-life or online shop visits.
In October, the virtual concert "Electric Fest" will take place on Walmart Land. Madison Beer, Kane Brown, and Yungblud will all be there.
Walmart is trying to make links between the online world and the real world.
Universe of Play has games with things like Razor scooters, Paw Patrol characters, and Jurassic World characters that are on Walmart's top holiday toy list. This may encourage Roblox players to ask for these toys.
Walmart Land has huge items from the store's beauty lines for Gen Z, like skin care from Bubble and makeup from Uoma by Sharon C. It also has a virtual changing room with clothes from its high-end fashion lines, like Free Assembly.
Roblox got a lot of new users during the Covid epidemic, and it went public on the stock market the year before. According to the company, there are now more than 52 million regular users of the gaming platform.
In 2020, there were only 32.6 million regular users. In the past, mostly young children and teenagers have used it, but the company says that people of all ages are now using it.
The platform, which makes most of its money from in-app purchases, is looking into online advertising and has plans for a bigger advertising push in 2019.
Even though Roblox is worth about $21.2 billion on the market, its shares have dropped by almost 66% so far this year.
Because of this, there are now more shops and businesses that use Roblox. Companies like Ralph Lauren and PacSun that make clothes for teens are examples of these. Vans, a company that makes sports shoes, owns the skate park in Roblox.
In a blog post about the past year, Roblox praised the success of brand experiences, such as the best places for users aged 17 and up. These included Gucci Garden, where users could pose with their avatars and look at limited-edition virtual items, and Nikeland, where users' avatars could shop for the brand's clothes or compete in a dunk contest.