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Walmart teams with Yahoo to create new shoppable holiday experiences


By Kendra Clark | Senior Reporter

November 22, 2021 | 7 min read

Walmart and Yahoo are getting festive with a new AR game, shoppable influencer-studded video content and additional cross-site e-commerce integrations. Here are all of the details.

Woman on phone with white lit Christmas tree behind her

Walmart and Yahoo team up to drive holiday merchandise sales

Walmart and Yahoo are gearing up for Christmas commerce. The web services company has teamed with the retail giant to bring consumers a handful of new shoppable experiences, digital activations and gift guides ahead of the holidays.

The joint ‘Holiday with Heart’ campaign involves a number of key initiatives designed to create new inspiration and discovery opportunities for shoppers, incentivize sales with special deals, simplify the e-commerce shopping process and provide new engaging content.

Unwrapping the joint campaign

The first of these initiatives is ‘Play for Joy,’ is an augmented reality (AR) Instagram game meant to mimic the feeling of playing an arcade claw game machine. Players attempt to collect as many virtual Walmart gifts as they can before the timer runs out – and each gift is a surprise. The game is intended to drive product discovery among Instagram users.

The next is a brand new add-to-cart tool that aims to streamline the shopping experience. Yahoo created a special new API that enables customers to add various Walmart products featured in content on Yahoo Life directly to their Walmart shopping cart for a more seamless checkout.

“At Walmart, we are focused on meeting new and existing customers in their moments of discovery and inspiration, and providing them with easy buying options that enable them to instantly [take] action,” says Walmart’s senior director of content, influencer and social commerce Sarah Henry. “We’ll continue to innovate on behalf of the customer to bring new shopping conveniences and experiences to customers in ways that help them save time while helping them live better.”

Yahoo x Walmart

The final activation in the ‘Holiday with Heart’ campaign also speaks to these objectives. Walmart has partnered with Yahoo to create two new special-edition video series. ‘Gifting to Win’ stars blogger and influencer Taryn Newton, who shares her holiday home and decor favorites with viewers. The show is created using Yahoo’s VidAR – an AR platform that allows users to render 3D product images within their current settings.

The second video series, ‘We Heart the Holidays,’ features blogger and entrepreneur Mattie James, who offers tips for holiday fashion, gift-giving, decor and hacks for holiday food. Both series include shoppable, interactive content and will debut across Yahoo Life and In the Know by Yahoo. Both content series feature shopping integrations, making it easy for viewers to add featured items directly to their Walmart shopping carts.

Consumers in control

Yahoo’s president and general manager of consumer Jo Lambert tells The Drum that the digital shopping integrations enabled by the new API, as well as the special holiday video series, speak to consumers’ newfound comfort with and demand for new shopping experiences. “Pre-Covid, offerings like shoppable video and 3D product catalogs were emerging technologies. Today they’re hallmarks of retail’s new normal,” she says. “Consumers have become more comfortable using these tools to replicate an in-store shopping experience. [They] not only entertain shoppers, but empower brands to connect with consumers through meaningful interactions.”

Lambert points out that it’s not just the new digital shopping tools that are a product of consumer demand – she says the entire campaign was designed to address consumer’s changing needs. “[Our consumers] are always the inspiration for everything we do ... Our holiday programming [with Walmart] is focused on gift inspiration, discovery and helping consumers find the best deals on the internet. Through our engaging content, our trusted editors and new tech capabilities, we are striving to fill the online experience with joy, ease and convenience this holiday season,” she says.

Yahoo will welcome consumer feedback on this year’s holiday initiatives to improve its commerce and marketing programs moving forward. “Our ongoing partnership allows us to build on our successes,” says Lambert, “and most importantly, continue to iterate and ideate new program elements and hone in on areas of growth.”

A season of sales

Beyond the ‘Holiday with Heart’ campaign, the joint ‘30 Days of Savings’ program, giving consumers a sneak peek at countless Walmart products, is back for its third consecutive year. The 2020 program led to a 239% lift in gross merchandise value year-on-year.

This year’s ‘30 Days of Savings’ initiative entails new social media activations – including a 30-day Twitter countdown of top Walmart products selected by Yahoo editors, in addition to a TikTok content series via Yahoo Life in which a handful of Walmart products are tried and tested to offer shoppers valuable insights before buying. “At Yahoo, we have seen significant growth with our gen Z audience, especially across our social platforms, so this expansion provides a great way for us to create the best holiday experience for our consumers while meeting them where they are, in whatever format they want to consume,” says Lambert.

It won’t be the first time that Yahoo is working with Walmart to drive engagement among gen Z consumers. Earlier this year, Yahoo’s In the Know teamed with Walmart to create the retailer’s ‘Deals for Days’ campaign, which entailed livestreamed shopping events and special video activations meant to target gen Z and millennial consumers. It proved fairly successful; the team delivered a gross merchandise value – or the total value of products sold during a given time period via a particular marketplace – 135% above internal targets, per Lambert.

This year’s holiday efforts has the potential to be especially lucrative for both Walmart and Yahoo, as Deloitte estimates holiday sales could be up 9% from last year.

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