The holiday season will look a little different in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, which has caused millions around the world to hit pause on normal life for a time. Two things that won’t change this year, however, are the human desire to celebrate, and Walmart’s desire to be there for customers.
From Halloween to Hanukkah, Thanksgiving to Kwanzaa and Christmas, Walmart will be there to surprise and delight customers at the prices they expect to find at the world’s largest retailer. Andrea Albright, senior vice president, merchandising – snacks, beverages, alcohol, front end and convenience stores, said Walmart is ready to deliver a great holiday season for customers this year, beginning with the shopping environment and ensuring that it’s safe and convenient to shop at the retailer.
From a merchandising standpoint, customers will find new offerings this year in some key holiday trends with a little bit of a twist. Baking, for instance, is a category with tremendous growth, especially during the pandemic when many customers across the U.S. had stay-at-home orders. Customers can expect to see an increase in holiday baking kits they can use at home or as gifts if they are unable to gather in person this holiday season. In candy, the retailer is offering new or exclusive items like the M&M’s Christmas Event set, as well as popular items customers like to see from year to year, like the Holiday Ultimate Oreo Cookie Dunking Set.
Adult Beverage is an equally exciting category during the holiday season, and last month featured new items for Halloween such as trick-or-treat bags of mini Fireball bottles and a Stella Rosa sugar skull bottle, which has become a collectible item over the years. Walmart also recently relaunched the Winemakers Selection, which is a great tasting option to pair with holiday meals for just $5 per bottle. Whisky, wine, cheese, and chocolate advent calendars are another innovation available this year that are perfect for gifts or celebrating with loved ones, especially if customers are unable to visit in person.
“Our stores will continue to offer great products that you’d expect at everyday low prices. But we also continue to come up with new ways to make sure those special moments remain special even if people can’t be together in person this year”.Andrea Albright, senior vice president, merchandising – snacks, beverages, alcohol, front end and convenience stores
As more people continue to cook at home, the team also expects food gifting to be an even bigger trend this holiday season and is rolling out meat and cheese samplers, hot sauce and beverage samplers, as well as surprise items like Cheetos popcorn tins. All of these new innovations are in addition to traditional candies, snacks and beverages to ensure that customers find their go-to products for the holidays.
Albright knows firsthand what it is like to pivot personally and professionally due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and her team is rising to the challenge. “We have certainly had to change how we think about and go to market, but we still taste, touch, try and smell all of our products. This entails some coordination and often involves making decisions over Zoom and phone calls, but we are just as engaged in quality, texture, taste and thrill. We have just had to get inventive about how we share those moments of innovation.”