Walmart: Virtual Worlds Offer Chance to ‘Experiment with a New Type of Commerce’

Walmart is adding commerce features to its House Flip mobile game.

Walmart is actively pursuing what it sees as the “future of retail” in gaming environments. The company shared details about a number of current initiatives — including plans to introduce commerce capabilities into its mobile game House Flip — and promised that “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.”

“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,” said Thomas Kang, VP and General Manager of Metaverse Commerce at Walmart’s innovation arm, Store No. 8, in a blog post. “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.”

As Kang pointed out, virtual worlds and games represent the fastest-growing category of entertainment, with a projected 3 billion participants this year spanning all geographies and demographics.

Some of Walmart’s current experiments in this space include:

Walmart's fashion brand Scoop took over the Runway Z space in Zepeto.
Walmart’s fashion brand Scoop took over the Runway Z space in Zepeto with avatar fashions and more. (Photo courtesy Walmart)
  • The mobile game House Flip, which was created in partnership with game developer Fun-Gi and debuted earlier this year, allows players to renovate and sell virtual homes. When the game launched it included the ability for players to virtually test Glidden paint colors, which are sold at Walmart. The integration generated more than 12 million impressions for the Glidden brand over the first six months of the game’s release, and now Walmart is adding commerce functionality to the game. Later this month players will gain the ability to purchase physical items natively within the game using their Walmart account. The retailer also is adding new virtual versions of décor items from Mainstays and Better Homes and Gardens within the Walmart in-game landmark that players can browse and purchase.
  • A virtual outing for the Walmart-exclusive brand Scoop in the metaverse environment Zepeto. The Scoop brand took over the Zepeto fashion world Runway Z, with branding and virtual goods based on Scoop designs that players could buy for their avatars.
  • The launch of another Roblox experience, following on the Walmart Land and Universe of Play “isles”, which debuted in-platform in 2022. The new “Supercampus” experience launched in late August and is aimed at getting kids excited to head back to school, with a series of challenges built around brands like BIC, Crayola and 3M.