Walmart will be tripling its toy assortment available online this year and launching a series of 20,000 “Toys that Rock” parties.
In a media call, chief merchandising officer Steve Bratspies confirmed that Walmart has ample supplies of Hatchimals, and is keeping up with brisk customer demand for Fingerlings, which he predicts will be a big hit: “Fingerlings is hot and I think our toy team did a good job of jumping on it first. I think we’ve got a pretty good supply laid in for the season.”
Walmart is also hoping to replicate the success of last year’s exclusive Disney Princess Carriage with a similar motorized Frozen Sleigh, which moves at a top speed of 5 miles per hour. The Frozen sleigh costs $298, down from $398 for last year’s Princess Carriage.
In-store parties are a new approach for Walmart: the strategy kicks off with this weekend’s toy parties, where customers can pick up the retailer’s toy catalogue, along with sticker sheets which kids can use to mark the toys they want, after sampling toys that will be on display in store for them to try out. Walmart will also have 24,000 Santa visits at stores over the holidays.
In addition to the toy parties, Walmart will host similar events focused on party supplies and gifts in December.
Walmart also is adding more Holiday Helpers, building on last year’s program that steered people to the shortest checkout lines. This year the helpers will also help with in-store pickup of e-commerce orders and provide customer service in toys and electronics.