Walmart Launches Digital Toy Box, Wonder Lab

The new online hub is part of Walmart's digitally-focused holiday 2020 campaigning.

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Need to Know

  • Walmart has launched the Walmart Wonder Lab, an interactive digital hub created to let kids discover new toys.
  • Kids can “play” with a selection of this season’s most-wanted toys online through a special site.
  • On the website, created in partnership with Eko, each toy can be “unboxed,” and a selection of pre-set commands let children see how the toys work.
  • The Wonder Lab is part of Walmart’s 2020 holiday season campaign, which includes the retailer’s annual Top-Rated by Kids Toy List.

Analysis

Walmart has kicked off its holiday shopping season with a new interactive digital hub, Wonder Lab, that lets kids “play” with some of the year’s top-rated toys.

Wonder Lab, which was created in partnership with interactive entertainment company Eko and is now online, is part of Walmart’s 2020 rollout of its annual Top-Rated by Kids Toy List, a yearly ranking of the most-coveted playthings. More than 100 toys—including some from the Top-Rated list—will be featured on Wonder Lab, where they can be virtually unboxed and interacted with using a number of preset options that are designed show kids how each toy works: Squeakee the Balloon Dog can be inflated and popped, for instance, while noise-making buttons on the Helping Heroes Fire Station truck can be pressed and tested.

Kids can virtually “pop” Squeakee.

The Wonder Lab hub is fully shoppable: if users wish to purchase a toy after interacting with it, a “shop” button is visible at the side of the screen. When the button is clicked, Wonder Labs asks the user if they’re an adult and prompts the user to input their date of birth, in case tots are attempting to buy toys for themselves.

Wonder Lab is similar to a tool Walmart introduced two years ago, called Walmart Toy Box, but has substantially enhance features.

“This year’s Top-Rated by Kids Toy List reflects the shift we’ve seen in toy trends and behaviours this year,” Steve Ronchetto, VP of toys at Walmart said. “Toys play a critical role in families’ lives as they spend more time at home and parents seek ways to keep kids engaged with learning-based play. More than any year before, we’re seeing strong interest across toys that stem from digital platforms, like kid influencer-created toys, interactive and educational toys, screen-free indoor entertainment and toys for active outdoor play.”

The launch of Wonder Lab is also reflective of a shift in behaviours on the part of retailers, as strong e-commerce tools have become of critical importance during the COVID-19 pandemic. With many consumers continuing to prefer curbside pickup and home delivery to in-store shopping, and the holiday season approaching, Walmart is embracing innovative digital solutions to engage consumers (and now, their kids). Over the past few months, Walmart announced a subscription service, Walmart+, which is similar to Amazon Prime and will launch September 15, and inked a deal to become Shopify’s first-ever commerce platform partner. The company saw a 97% surge in e-commerce sales over the second quarter of 2020.

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