Walmart (WMT) Changes Toy Testing Routine, Virtual Testing is the New Normal

UTC by Godfrey Benjamin · 3 min read
Walmart (WMT) Changes Toy Testing Routine, Virtual Testing is the New Normal
Photo: Depositphotos

Walmart (WMT) is introducing Walmart Wonder Lab, a virtual game testing hub created to replace the retailer’s annual physical toy testing.

Major retailer Walmart Inc (NYSE: WMT) has indicated it will be changing its annual toy testing routine as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. The new testing model that will be adopted will now take place virtually.

Annually, Walmart (WMT) usually gathers a group of kids at a conference center near its Arkansas headquarters to try out a broad collection of toys. The essence of the testing is to enable the retailer to get a glimpse of the most valued toys to order in large quantities based in preparation for the forthcoming holiday season.

While the observance of social distancing rules is still somewhat in place as the country looks to heal from the COVID-19 pandemic, Walmart has created an online focus group of kids to try out the selected toy choices.

According to CNBC, the developed online tool will let kids virtually unbox, test, and play with toys since multiple kids can’t wheel around the same truck or play with the same doll in store aisles or at demos. With the tool dubbed Walmart Wonder Lab, kids will be able 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. While this brings a new twist to the toy testing ritual for the kids, safety remains the focus of the company as it looks to achieve a similar purpose as in the previous years.

Walmart Toy Testing Is Its Strategy To Stay Atop

With the coming of the coronavirus pandemic, there has been a massive surge in the sales of toys and games in a bid to make the stay-at-home exercise less excruciating. Of the retailers, Walmart is in the lead having about 25% market share. With the virtual game testing tool Walmart Wonder Lab, the firm aims to stay positioned for the forthcoming holiday season. This strategic and creative move has sparked interest from actors in the space.

According to Steph Wissink, managing director of Jefferies, toys have obviously had a renaissance, helping families to pass time during the pandemic. She expected the boom recorded from March not to affect the potential of another round of massive sales during the forthcoming holiday season. Steph Wissink said:

“If you know someone who has children, how often do you expect them to sit their kid down and say ‘No presents under the Christmas tree because you got them in March.’ It doesn’t happen”.

The Top-rated Toys and Buying Capacity

Of the 100 toys that will be on display at Walmart Wonder Lab, the top-rated toys as seen from the COVID-19 sparked boom includes Lego to outdoor toys like scooters and hoverboards to unique products like Squeakee, an interactive balloon dog from Moose Toys that make sounds and does tricks.

With mounting anticipation, the looming recession, and cash strain the pandemic has placed on families may limit the purchasing power of some families. Nonetheless, the desire to make the season special further fuels the toy sales.

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