Walmart finds a lot of joy in one-stop shopping

Consumers need a pick-me-up, so the retailer brought back its teddy and zeroed in on simplifying the "holiday shopping mission."
Screen Shot 2020-11-09 at 9.44.44 AM

Walmart has brought back the teddy bear from its 2018 holiday campaign to cheer Canadians up and position itself as having everything they need this holiday season at an affordable price.

The teddy bear makes it clear in a 30-second spot, where he climbs up on to a store counter with a microphone to deliver an impassioned speech about how toys, cameras, phones and other products have the joy that people are looking for this year, which stirs them all into life, just like him.

According to Tammy Sadinsky, VP of marketing communications at Walmart Canada, the brand’s marketing approach this holiday season is to convey that “Joy begins here,” as the spot’s tagline states.

The campaign plays off an insight that many retailers have been zeroing in on this year: that Canadians are in need of a little extra optimism this year, but also recognizing that a big part of that is being able to find exactly what they are looking for as efficiently as possible to mitigate the unique stress that consumers have about shopping this year.

That’s why  “joy” for Walmart also comes through via the brand’s one-stop shop proposition, coupled with its everyday low prices – a trend other retail brands are seeing, as Canadian consumers are valuing a consolidated shopping experience during the pandemic, wanting to mitigate possible exposure to COVID-19. That’s also something Walmart has been known for, but is tying a bit more directly to the spirit of the season.

“Walmart has everything Canadians need to create holiday joy this year – from toys to décor, to food for their holiday meals,” Sadinsky says. “While our message has remained consistent, it’s important that our customers know that Walmart is here to help simplify their holiday shopping mission, both in-store and online, and help them pull it all off.”

Walmart Canada recently announced it would be investing $110 million towards transforming 10 stores to high-tech omnichannel fulfillment centers, as part of the brand’s overall $3.5 billion investment in improving business operations. The investment will allow the brand to ramp up the speed of fulfillment for pickup and delivery orders. The brand will also be carrying out 130 store renovations in the next couple of years to create new floor space for e-commerce capabilities – 19 of these renovations are taking place this year.

Beyond the ten omnichannel fulfillment centers, the brand also intends to expand its grocery pickup program to 70% of its locations by the end of this year and allow for mobile check-in for grocery orders. According to Walmart’s latest quarterly report, net sales growth for Canada was up 13.9% year-over-year. The brand’s Canadian ecommerce net sales were up 215%.

Sadinsky says the holiday consumer trends the brand is seeing most is that the pandemic is forcing Canadians to do more, with less, less frequently. “Canadians are shopping less frequently, but are spending more per shop, or choosing to shop online, and using pickup or delivery instead,” she says. “With reduced budgets and fewer trips to the store, our everyday low prices and the convenience of getting everything from groceries to gifting at one stop is even more important.”

An October PwC report predicts that Canadians will spend on average 30.7% less than they did in 2019 ($1,104 versus $1,593 last year). And while 60% of consumers plan to do some shopping in-store, that will be outweighed by online shopping due to the pandemic.

“Our holiday campaign puts the brand top of mind for consumers when it comes to all of their shopping needs,” Sadinsky says.

Cossette conducted the creative for the campaign. Mindshare handled the media buy. There is paid digital and social. The 30-second spot is appearing on national television.