One of the biggest global big-box retailers wants a chunk of that $800 billion metaverse business.
It appears that Walmart, one of the largest global big-box retailers, is joining the growing metaverse community with the launch of their own cryptocurrency. The company is also releasing a collection of NFTs that include virtual items such as electronics, home decorations, games, toys, sporting goods, and various other products you can typically find at a physical Walmart store.
During a CNBC interview,trademark attorney Josh Gerben said that the company has filed seven “super intense” trademark applications with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office detailing how Walmart envisions their presence in the metaverse and what a Walmart cryptocurrency would potentially look like. The details of the trademarks are currently under wraps.
Earlier this month, a humorous clip of a conceptual Walmart VR shopping experience developed back in 2017 went viral on Twitter and TikTok with over 11 million views. The video shows a virtual Walmart employee assisting the user as they walk down virtual aisles while shopping for wine, milk, and various other items.
This was a concept created by Store No. 8, a division of Walmart that explores how the future of eCommerce will be impacted by technology such as AI, VR, AR, and the metaverse. It’s a lot like a technology test kitchen where they can simply approach any idea and explore without consequences.
In an official statement, Walmart said, “[We are] continuously exploring how emerging technologies may shape future shopping experiences. We are testing new ideas all the time,” adding, “Some ideas become products or services that make it to customers. And some we test, iterate, and learn from.”
The metaverse is definitely a hot topic for many brands right now. Meta, Nike, Forever 21, Coca-Cola, Wendy’s, and many others are already exploring the potential benefits of VR and AR technology in regards to eCommerce, while Bill Gates predicts that most of our work meetings will happen in the metaverse within the next 3 years.
Another company taking advantage of this rising interest is the Gap. Earlier this month the company launched a gamified collectible NFT experience with four levels of NFTs that range from $8.30 to $415, and come with an actual hoodie you can wear in the real world.
With that said, other fashion retailers such as Urban Outfitters, Ralph Lauren, and Abercrombie & Fitch have also filed trademarks to open up their own virtual stores in the metaverse.
In a recent interview with NBC, futurist and metaverse expert Cathy Hackl, talked about the recent Microsoft acquisition of Activision and what it could mean for the metaverse: “We have to brace for this race to the metaverse. We will see more and more MNA (mergers and acquisitions) coming into this space, maybe from some of the companies that were in a wait-and-see mode. This definitely sets an alarm that they can no longer wait.”
The metaverse is quickly evolving into an incredible business model and has a lot of people excited, from consumers and creators to businesses and developers. Experts predict the metaverse industry will become an $800 billion marketing opportunity for games, social, work, VR and AR hardware, and more.
It is very much a part of our reality. “All of a sudden, everyone is like, this is becoming super real and we need to make sure our IP is protected in this space,” said Gerben.
Feature Image Credit: Walmart