Exploring the Potential of Virtual Commerce

Sep. 19, 2023

Metaverse House Flip

As the lines between physical and virtual continue to blur, we want to meet our customers where they’re spending more and more of their time. Increasingly, that includes virtual worlds.

Virtual worlds — environments that allow you to create avatars, socialize with others, explore 3D spaces and participate in activities — are already changing the way we connect, play and shop, and they are poised to further transform our daily lives. Citi estimates that the total market for metaverse-related commercial activity will be between $8 trillion and $13 trillion by 2030, with total metaverse users numbering around five billion.

At Walmart, we see the growth and expansion of increasingly immersive virtual worlds as not only a chance to develop new ways to meet and engage with our customers, but also an opportunity to experiment with a new type of commerce, where customers can not only continue buying virtual goods, like clothing for their avatar, but now their real-world counterpart.

Given that almost 90% of the U.S. population lives within 10 miles of a Walmart store, we also have an opportunity to connect their physical and virtual lives in a way that only Walmart can. Over the next year, you’ll see us test a variety of experiences in virtual worlds that connect to commerce at stores and vice versa. In fact, we’ve already begun.

Earlier this year, we teamed up with game developer FUN-GI on House Flip, a mobile game available on iOS or Android, that allows players to renovate and sell virtual homes. We initially started with the ability for players to virtually test certain Glidden paint colors sold at Walmart, generating more than 12 million impressions for the Glidden brand over the first six months.

This month, we’ll introduce the ability to purchase physical items contextually and natively in the game — either the same ones you use to decorate your virtual house or ones you discover while playing the game — using your Walmart account without leaving the virtual world.  We’re also adding new décor items from Mainstays and Better Homes and Gardens in the Walmart in-game landmark that players can browse and purchase.

In August, we entered the virtual fashion segment with our clothing brand Scoop, taking over the fashion space, Runway Z, within the mobile virtual world ZEPETO. Not only was Runway Z fully decked out in Scoop branding, but virtual goods based on Scoop’s designs were available for players to buy for their avatars. Within the first month of launch, we saw increased user engagement in Runway Z and purchases of virtual Scoop clothing items — another first for Walmart.

Metaverse: Scoop X Runway

With a projected 3 billion participants spanning all geographies and demographics, virtual worlds and games represent the fastest-growing category of entertainment, and they present us with the opportunity to redesign the shopping experience and invent the future of retail. We believe in building commerce in virtual worlds and experiences for everyone, accessible via any device, that align with our digital values and meet the needs of all our customers. We see limitless potential with this emerging technology, and we’re excited to explore its possibilities.

We can’t wait to show you where we’re going next.