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Walmart expands metaverse, influencer efforts with Walmart Realms

Walmart Realm 'So Jelly' (Image courtesy of Walmart and Emperia)
Walmart Realm "So Jelly" store (Image courtesy of Walmart and Emperia).

A new immersive shopping experience from Walmart increases its presence in "virtual worlds" and among influencers.

The discounter has launched “Walmart Realms,” a 3-D virtual shopping environment curated by digital influencers and built upon the Emperia metaverse platform. Accessible on a dedicated website, Walmart Realms offers a selection of three 3-D animated shops, each with its own theme and with an assortment created by a different influencer or team of influencers.

Each shop offers a rotating 180-degree view and items customers can click on to obtain detailed views and add to their shopping cart. In a gamification element, visitors can also click on “sparks” (representations of the Walmart symbol) and collect them to win prizes. 

Currently, the three stores are "So Jelly" – an undersea theme curated by Mai Pham, "Y’Allternative" – a "Wild West meets Gothic glam" theme curated by Makenzie and Malia, and “Go Chromatic” – a metallic theme curated by Nava Rose.

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Each immersive store has its assortment divided into categories of beauty, fashion and home, and a pulldown menu enables customers to navigate among stores and obtain instructions. In addition, animated avatars of the influencers provide audio and text-based greetings to visitors.

"At Walmart, we’re embracing innovation with e-commerce experiences designed with the virtual world at the heart,” William White, Walmart chief marketing officer, said in a LinkedIn post. "This latest innovation is reshaping the retail landscape and we’re thrilled to bring it to our customers."

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Walmart pursues influencer, virtual commerce

Walmart has been actively expanding the channels it uses to conduct commerce. In late 2022, it rolled out a program called Walmart Creator, designed to make it easy for social media influencers and content creators to monetize shoppable products from the retailer. 

Creators who sign up have access to tens of thousands of products and can earn commissions on sales they refer. The discounter has also engaged in a number of livestream sales programs with influencers across several social media and live commerce platforms. 

In the area of virtual commerce, Walmart recently stepped up its metaverse commerce efforts with a groundbreaking initiative on the popular Roblox immersive gaming platform. 

The retailer, which debuted in the metaverse by launching two new metaverse experiences on Roblox in September 2022 and announced in September 2023 that it would deepen its commercial activity in "virtual worlds," became the first entity to sell select physical items on Roblox.

Walmart’s IRL commerce shop in the experience enables Roblox users to check out the real world items chosen by its partner user generated content (UGC) creators, MD17, Junozy & Sarabxlla.

The company has also tested immersive commerce in a variety of online worlds, including the Supercampus gamified Roblox environment. And in January 2024, Walmart began providing developers in the Unity real-time 3D development environment the ability to integrate its commerce application programming interfaces (APIs) directly into their games and apps. 

This will enable Unity creators to sell physical items in real-time 3D experiences across more than 20 metaverse platforms.

Headquartered in Bentonville, Ark., Walmart Inc. operates approximately 10,500 stores and numerous e-commerce websites in 19 countries.

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