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Walmart enters the Metaverse – what happens now?

Walmart is the latest retailer to make a splash in the metaverse.

The discount giant debuts in the Metaverse introducing two new Roblox Metaverse experiences. Named Walmart Land and Walmart’s Universe of Play, the rooms offer original interactive content and entertainment.

Walmart Land will offer digital fashion, style, beauty and entertainment items direct to Roblox users; while Walmart’s Universe of Play will feature a virtual toy destination in Roblox.

Walmart’s Metaverse entry is the latest signal that the Metaverse is evolving into one legitimate retail channel. The retail powerhouse is also another vote of confidence in Roblox as a metaverse commerce platform. But this move certainly won’t be the last Walmart will take in its Metaverse strategy.

Following are two likely Metaverse developments from Walmart and one from Walmart’s biggest rival.

Realize with products
Virtual products that customers can use in the Metaverse are big business. Retailers make a lot of money selling Metaverse digital items. Particular advantages of this type of trading include the absence of overhead costs associated with physical deals or supply chain operations.

However, retailers are also discovering that the Metaverse can serve as an e-commerce platform for physical products. For example, early Metaverse retail pioneer Pacsun recently operated a multifaceted effort for digital commerce at the ComplexLand 3.0 Metaverse event in May 2022.

This included a three-story virtual store where attendees bought exclusive Pacsun products as well as items from partner brands. Once a buyer found the virtual Metaverse version of the product they wanted to purchase, they were directed to the Pacsun website to purchase the physical version of the product. Walmart could certainly follow suit, and not just at a virtual festival.

NFTs – more than a collector’s item
Non-fungible tokens (NFTs), unique digital assets stored on a blockchain ledger that verify ownership, are another Metaverse phenomenon that Walmart may want to investigate.

[Read more: Retailers discover ‘real world’ uses for NFTs]

In many cases, retailers use NFTs to create digital collectibles that can be sold or used for promotional purposes. But in an exclusive interview with The age of chain stores, Adryenn Ashley, global blockchain influencer and co-founder of the Billionaire Zombies Club decentralized NFT art community, explains how retailers like Walmart can derive greater value from NFTs.

“An NFT is much more than a JPEG file and a serial number,” explains Ashley. “You can build a community with NFTs.”

Ashley recommended retailers place an NFT portal in their already downloaded consumer apps and then create a depot wallet in the app by offering an NFT tab where users make digital payments.

“Retailers can deliver gated content there,” Ashley said. “You can geolocate NFT users in your app and reach them on their phones with push notifications.

Examples of content that Walmart could push to targeted customers via NFT include early access to hot products (think Black Friday and Cyber ​​Monday) and specific reminders and discounts. Walmart shoppers could also purchase an NFT to reserve the right to receive a specific product in a specific color or size for home delivery or in-store pickup.

How will Amazon react?
Although neither will publicly admit it, Walmart and Amazon are the biggest rivals in retail. Where one goes, the other inevitably follows. So far, Amazon has only offered limited public demonstrations of its Metaverse capabilities in India, but it’s hard to imagine the e-tail giant ceding Metaverse trading to Walmart for long.

Although some media reports suggest that Amazon is using the Decentraland Metaverse environment for its Indian “Amazonmetaworld” pilot, the company’s robust Amazon Web Services (AWS) cloud infrastructure would make the development of a proprietary metaverse plausible. Amazon also has its own live stream platform and live video game platform which it could easily integrate into a Metaverse environment.

Amazon can’t afford to stand by and let other retailers take a dominant position in the still-evolving metaverse commerce space. Watch out for Amazon moving beyond the pilot phase in the metaverse in the not-too-distant future.

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