Walmart Launches Roblox Store, Offering New Worst Way To Buy Stuff Online

Image: Walmart / Roblox
Image: Walmart / Roblox

Walmart has launched its Roblox store, letting users buy digital items inside the game that are also sent to them physically via the mail. According to Walmart, it hopes that its stores and tech will power future Roblox commerce. It’s yet another example of companies desperately trying to figure out how to suck money out of Gen Z.

In 2022, Walmart began investing more resources and time into trying to figure out Roblox. It created an in-game world, sold some in-game virtual goods, forced an executive to do an awkward Roblox presentation, and then shut it all down about six months later because nobody on Earth wanted to visit their boring world dedicated to the Walmart brand. Oh, it also wasn’t properly marketed as an advertisement, and that got the company in some hot water. Anyway, it’s 2024, and Walmart isn’t giving up on Roblox. And this time, the large retailer wants your real money. (And remembered to mention this is all an ad in the description this time.)

On April 29, as first reported by Digiday, Walmart launched its e-commerce test inside Roblox via a new “IRL Store” inside its pre-existing Walmart Discovered world. Roblox players loading into Walmart Discovered will now see a new storefront showcasing a small number of virtual items that represent real, physical products. If a user buys one of these digital items, they’ll also be sent the real-world version in the mail via Walmart. Currently, Roblox and Walmart only support US customers over the age of 13.

How buying real items in Roblox works

Buying these items in Roblox is done inside of a virtual web browser that recreates the Walmart website, basically functioning like a virtual PC inside of the game, which sounds like one of the most boring things you can do in Roblox.

“There is a traditional sort of checkout flow where you put your name, your address, and your credit card information, and that’s all powered by a Walmart API that handles all of the information super securely — it’s very safe,” Walmart director of brand experiences and strategic partnerships Justin Breton told DigiDay. “And once you hit checkout, you’ll get your confirmation email from Walmart. All of that is handled by us on the back end, the user will then get their item in the mail, but the virtual twin is granted immediately back on Roblox.”

This is just a small-scale test, so Walmart is only selling three items in the IRL Store: A No Boundaries festival bag, a stainless steel tumbler, and a pair of wireless headphones. According to Walmart, three different Roblox creators—Sarabxlla, MD17_RBLX, and Junozy—designed the Roblox digital versions of these real-world products.

“Shopping for virtual items is already an important element of how people engage and express themselves on Roblox daily,” said Roblox VP of economy Enrico D’Angeloso. “Our goal is to gather feedback, test the technology, and learn what resonates with Gen Z customers the most when it comes to shopping for physical items.”

Walmart has big plans for Roblox

This is all part of Roblox’s continued effort to expand beyond just being an online video game, and to grow into a larger, more diverse platform for creators, brands, investors, and retailers. What will this mean for the kids “living in the slums” making some side cash for their family by building Roblox obstacle courses? I’m not sure. Maybe they can get Walmart to put a branded kiosk at the end and get a cut from each shirt sold?

Walmart is currently planning to run its test store from now to the end of May. But if the test is successful, the retail giant will keep it going and add more products to the IRL Store. Walmart is betting big that Roblox’s plans to become the next Amazon are real and will be successful, because it hopes to power all of it, telling DigiDay:

“Hopefully, there’s a future state where Walmart’s [not just] powering commerce in Walmart Discovered, but in other experiences. I think the future’s bright, and there’s a lot of opportunity to use our learnings to inform a different road map for the future,” Breton said.


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