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Walmart marks back-to-school with livestream shopping, TikTok contest

Walmart celebrates the start of a new school year

Walmart is leveraging two of the hottest social commerce trends to kick off another new academic year.

The discount giant is launching an omnichannel celebration called “Homecoming” with a contest on the TikTok short video platform. Through Tuesday, Aug. 24, customers can submit a TikTok video telling Walmart why their favorite teacher deserves to be recognized. Walmart will select and award a $5,000 Walmart gift card and school supplies to 100 of the teachers who are submitted, and a supplies-filled backpack to the 100 nominators.

[Read more: Walmart springs forward with livestream shopping on TikTok]

In addition, on Tuesday, Sept. 7, at 8:30 p.m. ET Walmart is closing out the celebration with a livestream event hosted by actors Noah Schnapp and Madison Bailey with a live performance by country star Kane Brown. The event will offer virtual attendees exclusive back-to-school prizes and shoppable content, and be available on Walmart’s own livestream platform, as well as on the retailer’s YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and TikTok sites.

Walmart has engaged in a number of livestream shopping events since fall 2020. Most recently, the discounter partnered with social/TV influencer Ree Drummond, also known as “Pioneer Woman,” and her daughter Alex Scott to demo some of their favorite products from the Walmart-exclusive Pioneer Woman collection in a livestream shopping event on Facebook. Viewers were able to engage directly with both Drummond and Scott by asking questions during the event. 

A recent study from global retail bank, payments and shopping service Klarna also indicates virtual livestream shopping events show promise, with older audiences as early adopters. While only 25% of surveyed shoppers reported having attended a virtual livestream shopping event, 60% of those who had tried it said that it improved their online shopping experience. Baby boomers (28%) and Gen Xers (27%) were more likely to have participated in these events than millennials (23%) or Gen Zers (20%).

Walmart’s Homecoming series of events also includes free, outdoor or virtual concerts for students and teachers from popular performers Imagine Dragons, Chance the Rapper, and Kane Brown. Imagine Dragons will perform Aug. 27 in Las Vegas, Chance the Rapper will perform Aug. 30 in Chicago, and Kane Brown will perform on Sept. 7 in Fort Oglethorpe, Ga.

These artists will have the chance to re-connect with their hometown and their favorite teachers during these events. At the close of each concert, for a grand encore, there will be a surprise for the school to inspire and uplift everyone as they head back to class.

“Walmart is thrilled to support and inspire communities as we enter a new school year,” said William White, Walmart’s chief marketing officer. “We’re going to show our sincere thanks and appreciation to schools, teachers and students in a big, bold way.”

Walmart Inc. operates approximately 10,500 stores and clubs under 48 banners in 24 countries and e-commerce websites.

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