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The Metaverse Marketplace and Walmart's New Commerce Vision

Exploring the convergence of virtual gaming environments and traditional retail dynamics

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Walmart is delving into the potential of gaming environments as the next frontier for retail. The company has unveiled several initiatives, including the integration of commerce capabilities into its mobile game, "House Flip." This game, developed in collaboration with game developer Fungi, initially allowed players to virtually test Glidden paint colors. With the game's success, Walmart is set to introduce commerce functionality, enabling players to purchase physical items directly within the game using their Walmart account. Additionally, virtual versions of decor items from brands like Mainstays and Better Homes and Gardens will be available for players to explore and buy.

Thomas Kang, VP and General Manager of Metaverse Commerce at Walmart's innovation division, Store No. 8, emphasized the growth of immersive virtual worlds. He sees these platforms as opportunities to engage customers in novel ways and experiment with a fresh commerce model. This model would allow customers to buy not just virtual goods, such as avatar clothing, but also their real-world equivalents. With the majority of the US population living in close proximity to a Walmart store, the company believes it is uniquely positioned to bridge the gap between the virtual and physical realms.

Virtual worlds and games are rapidly becoming the most popular entertainment category, with projections indicating 3 billion participants this year. Walmart's endeavors in this space also include collaborations with the metaverse environment Zepeto and the Roblox platform. For instance, Walmart's fashion brand, Scoop, had a virtual presence in Zepeto, where players could purchase avatar designs based on Scoop's fashion line. Another initiative on Roblox, named "SuperCampus," was launched to engage kids with back-to-school excitement, featuring challenges centered around brands like Bic, Crayola, and 3M.

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