KidHQ: Walmart and Mattel Renting Space in Virtual Store

Online toy shopping is getting increasingly creative, as digital reality tools rise in popularity among retailers and consumers. Walmart and Mattel are now leasing “floors” at the BuzzFeed-produced interactive video experience KidHQ, a virtual reality store that allows users to browse products via choose-your-own-adventure-style videos. Both companies are looking ahead to the holiday season as they try to sell toys ranging from Barbies to “Frozen 2” merchandise, and are using interactive video to connect with consumers to do so. 

“On Mattel’s Barbie DreamFloor, users can help Barbie create her own video blog … while browsing products such as a Barbie house or space shuttle. The videos intermittently point out, with enthusiasm, that they are ads,” explains The Wall Street Journal.

“It’s a new way for kids to interact with the Barbie brand,” said Janet Hsu, chief franchise officer at Mattel. “[Sales] wouldn’t hurt, but the reason we are doing this is to deepen the engagement with the brand.” 

A separate “floor” for “grownups only” allows adults to view wish lists and make purchases through Walmart’s website, according to WSJ.

KidHQ was created by startup Eko, which “received $250 million in funding from Walmart last October to create a joint venture for interactive programming. Walmart and Eko experimented with an initial version of a Toy Lab that generated 8 million interactions,” reports WSJ. The press release notes that production is by BuzzFeed.

Interactive video is a fairly new way to market toys to kids and families, and those giving it a try on KidHQ receive anonymized data about purchases, including information on how consumers are interacting with the toys via video.