Shopping Gets Weird but Wonderful with Walmart Realm
Image Credit - Walmart
05 June, 2024

Shopping Gets Weird but Wonderful with Walmart Realm

Walmart just launched Realm, its new 3D online shopping platform. To help you visualize what that means, imagine a virtual mall packed with bright colors, wacky landscapes, and cartoon avatars wandering around.


Realm lets you browse "digital doubles" of real Walmart products by navigating through several make-believe worlds. One realm is an underwater fantasyland called "So Jelly." Another transports you to "Y'allternative," a Gothic-Western fusion frontier. There's even "Go Chromatic," a shiny, metallic environment set in outer space.


To shop, you simply click on items as your avatar explores these offbeat virtual markets. Add products to your cart, then checkout by linking over to For now, Realm is just a website that works on desktop or mobile.


So why is the biggest retailer in the world diving headfirst into the metaverse? It turns out Walmart has big dreams of mixing gaming, social media, and e-commerce into one online experience.

RELATED: Online Furniture Seller Wayfair Opens Its First Physical Retail Store


"We believe this is the future of commerce," said Justin Breton, who leads brand experiences at Walmart. "It won't replace our website or app, but will complement them."


Realm represents the latest sign that Walmart is doubling down on the metaverse, even as other brands have backed off the hype. The retail giant has steadily expanded virtually for the past two years. It launched immersive experiences on platforms like Roblox, where users can buy virtual merch. More recently, Walmart announced plans to sell actual products inside Roblox's world.


With Realm being its own distinct platform, the tech powering it is more robust than Walmart's previous metaverse experiments. The 3D environment was built by Emperia, which constructs digital stores for brands like L'Occitane and Boss.


One key goal: replicating how shoppers browse and linger in real stores through engaging, video game-like experiences. As you wander Realm's realms, you can collect token rewards like in a vintage arcade game. The "Go Chromatic" area even features a Tetris-inspired mini-game where you can win a $100 gift card.

RELATED: Walmart Building Hundreds of New Stores Nationwide


Another big focus is catering to Gen Z, “the future of shopping”. Most items cost less than $50, like a $3.88 pair of faux pearl earrings. But pricier goods are available too, including an $800 sofa. Walmart also tapped influencers with millions of TikTok followers to curate Realm's trendy product assortment.


The social element is key for capturing Gen Z's interest, as research shows they're avid social shoppers making purchases directly through platforms like Instagram and TikTok. Walmart's influencers will promote Realm across their channels, hoping to drive new virtual foot traffic.


"Maybe Nava Rose says 'Hey, have you played this mini-game yet?' Then you come back, play it, maybe win a prize, and revisit again the next day," explained Breton.


While Realm is still just getting off the ground, Walmart sees it playing a major role in the brand's long-term online shopping strategy. The company hopes to expand these immersive e-commerce worlds to other platforms.


"As more platforms embrace real-world commerce, we'd love the opportunity to partner and introduce it to their communities," said Breton.