Walmart goes virtual Walmart goes virtual

Walmart goes virtual as it plans for holiday toy shopping

The Coronavirus pandemic has brought changes to all aspects of the economy and retail isn't the exception. What is Walmart doing to adapt its toy testing convention to social distancing times?  

Before each holiday season, Walmart gathers hundreds of kids at a convention center to try out lots of toys and choose the ones they would want to get for Christmas. The result of this testing shapes the retailer’s list of top toys for the holiday season.

This year, when social distancing prevents gathering people, the company mailed toys to several dozen kids for them to test at home, and developed an online tool that lets kids virtually unbox, test, and play with toys.

Walmart Wonder Lab will allow kids to try over 100 toys and guide virtual hands to interact with them. It’s a scaled-up version of a tool the company had the past two holiday seasons.

Walmart’s Brad Bedwell said it anticipates many customers to buy toys online this year and has sent more toys to fulfillment centers to meet the demand.

Toy sales have shot up during the pandemic and especially jumped in May, rising 37% from a year earlier, as parents bought outdoor items to keep children entertained at home.

According to CNBC, 25% to 30% of all toy sales were online in the U.S. prior to the pandemic, and more than 50% of toy sales were online at the peak of the pandemic.

Walmart is the top toy retailer in the U.S. It has about 25% in market share, followed by Amazon with about 20% and Target with 15% to 20%.

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