Walmart Is Getting Into an Unlikely New Sector

Retail giant files trademarks suggesting entry into the metaverse, with NFTs and cryptocurrency
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 17, 2022 9:35 AM CST
Walmart Is Getting Into an Unlikely New Sector
In this May 9, 2013, file photo, a worker is seen in front of a Walmart store in La Habra, Calif.   (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong, File)

Facebook isn't the only corporate behemoth wading into the metaverse. Now, Walmart appears to be dipping its toes in, filing multiple new trademarks at the end of last year that hint at plans to offer NFTs, a cryptocurrency, and virtual goods to consumers, reports CNBC. Although it's not commenting directly on the seven separate applications filed with the US Patent and Trademark Office on Dec. 30, Walmart has issued a statement acknowledging that it's "continuously exploring how emerging technologies may shape future shopping experiences."

"We are testing new ideas all the time," the statement continues. "Some ideas become products or services that make it to customers. And some we test, iterate, and learn from." Included in the trademark filings is a suggestion that Walmart plans to sell virtual goods across a range of categories, including electronics, sporting goods, toys, home decor, appliances, and personal care products. The Verge notes that one of the applications talks about "physical fitness training services" and "classes in the field of health and nutrition" that could possibly end up in the virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) realms.

Bloomberg notes that trademarks were also filed by the company for the terms "Verse to Store," "Verse to Curb," and "Verse to Home," which suggest a virtual shopping platform. "There's a lot of language in [the filings], which shows that there's a lot of planning going on behind the scenes about how they're going to address cryptocurrency, how they're going to address the metaverse and the virtual world that appears to be coming or that's already here," trademark lawyer Josh Gerben tells Insider.

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CNBC notes other retailers have also started testing these waters. Gap, Under Armour, and Adidas have already started selling NFTs of their products, while Nike has filed trademark applications indicating a plan to sell virtual branded sneakers. Gerben notes other retailers, including Urban Outfitters and Ralph Lauren, have filed trademarks hinting at soon-to-come virtual stores. "I think it's a win-win for any company in retail," says Frank Chaparro of The Block, a crypto information services firm. "And even if it just turns out to be a fad, there's not a lot of reputation damage in just trying something weird out like giving some customers an NFT in a sweepstake, for instance." (More Walmart stories.)

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