Imagine picking up your frozen veggies, cotton balls, shampoo, and the latest Funko Pop! Vinyl figure, all in one trip to the store. That’s the idea behind Walmart’s new collectibles section, which the retailer calls a “one-stop shop for pop culture merchandise.”
Walmart added the section to more than 3,500 of its brick-and-mortar stores in time for the last holiday season, featuring fandom-based products from companies including Funko, CultureFly, and McFarlane Toys. The retailer also became the first brick-and-mortar store to sell Loot Crate products.
“Pop culture fans are passionate about their fandoms and look for ways to incorporate it into all aspects of their life,” Walmart senior buying manager Brent Duwe says in a press release to announce the section. “Our new collectibles section will be a destination for our customers to find exclusive merchandise at the best prices for all fandoms, with more to come!”
Many of the partnering companies provide exclusive merchandise for Walmart. In its first month, Funko offered a chrome Thanos figure in six colors, while McFarlane offered exclusive NBA 2K19, Madden NFL 19 Ultimate Team, and Stranger Things figures.
CultureFly, a fandom-focused subscription box service, originally partnered with Walmart about a year before the collectibles section launched, but its hyper-specific boxes fit in well with the fandom merchandise. For the new section, the company introduced themed boxes based on Harry Potter, PlayStation, Rick and Morty, and Fallout.
For now, CultureFly plans to supply Walmart with new boxes each quarter, focusing on a variety of fandoms. According to co-founder Michael Chera, the partnership and the new section are a match. He says the CultureFly Harry Potter box—which includes a hat, a scarf, a squishy, a stationery set, and a handheld mirror—is the most popular so far.
These boxes, Chera explains, will always be exclusive to Walmart, as each CultureFly box is only sold at one retail location.
“Everything that we do—whether it is on our own website, at Walmart, at Target, at GameStop—it’s all exclusive to that specific partner,” he says. “Our direct-to-consumer boxes will never be sold at Walmart, and vice versa. … If [Walmart does] a Game of Thrones box, Target’s not going to have that same box. They’re going to have something totally different.”
The company originally partnered with Walmart to get more eyes on its boxes
and meet an increasing demand for the product. Chera says the partnership is very successful and will continue to grow. While he can’t provide any definitive details, Chera says CultureFly intends to expand its presence at Walmart beyond themed boxes.
“Nothing’s really finalized yet, but we’re working on developing not just boxes, but putting some other product in that section as well,” he says.
Another important aspect of CultureFly’s partnership with Walmart is its ability to provide boxes at a variety of price points. At Walmart, CultureFly boxes sell for $19.88, which is less expensive than some of CultureFly’s other retail offerings. This goes with Walmart’s general appeal as an affordable shopping destination with mass appeal. Chera says this is why he believes a collectibles section is a logical choice for Walmart in today’s market.
“It’s becoming cooler and cooler to collect things, and people are going to Walmart for all of their essentials,” he says. “So they go in there for clothing, they go in there for grocery stores—why not be able to have a one-stop shop for everything when these customers are actually die-hard fans of these specific intellectual properties?”
This article was originally published in the Pop Insider’s Winter 2019 Issue No. 2, click here to read more!