Walmart Inc. on Monday launched a Premium Outdoor Store on Walmart.com curated by Moosejaw, which it acquired in 2017 for $51 million in an all-cash deal. Walmart in 2017 went on a shopping spree, buying other verticals such as ShoeBuy, Modcloth and Bonobos, for which the retail behemoth paid $310 million.
Moosejaw is the first of the digital native brands to have a significant presence on Walmart.com.
Eoin Comerford, general manager of outdoor at Walmart U.S. e-commerce and chief executive officer of Moosejaw, said curating the new Premium Outdoor store “is kind of an honor, since this is the first time that Walmart is creating an online store on its flagship site curated by one of its acquired specialty retailers.”
Like Walmart.com’s Lord & Taylor storefront, the Premium Outdoor Store offers “a completely new outdoor specialty assortment that hasn’t been available to Walmart customers,” Comerford said, citing thousands of items from outdoor brands such as First Ascent by Eddie Bauer, Craghoppers, Deuter, Gramicci, Jack Wolfskin, KLYMIT, LEKI, Stonewear and Tentsile, as well as also the full range of Moosejaw-branded clothing, jackets and gear. “We plan to continually add new brands and products. The new premium assortment will complement the everyday camping assortment currently available on Walmart.com.”
The Premium Outdoor Store also looks like nothing previously seen on Walmart.com, with a landing page that includes a dreamy photo of a couple lying on an oversize hammock suspended between giant fir trees that has a painterly quality. Other images feature a hard-core climber scaling red rocks and serious surfers who’ve obviously gone to a lot of trouble to catch the perfect wave, gathered around a fire on the beach, their vehicles parked against craggy rocks.
Price points are higher, too, including a Black Diamond Mission shell for $598.95; Pajar Bionda boots for $430; and Black Diamond Sharp End pants for $468.95. Tents top $800 and backpacks, more than $450.
Moosejaw has long been interested in using the latest technology to create a better shopping experience for its customers. “Despite advances in e-commerce, the purchasing process remains largely the same as it was 25 years ago,” Comerford said. “Customers browse an online catalog, view 2-D images and read a description of the product, before deciding whether to buy. We asked ourselves, ‘How can we make shopping for outdoor gear more engaging?'”
Working with Spatialand, a virtual reality platform acquired by Walmart’s technology incubator, Store No. 8, Moosejaw introduced v-commerce (commerce enabled by VR) at July’s Outdoor Retailer Summer Market in Denver, “a completely immersive adventure that transports customers to an actual campsite in Yosemite National Park, where they can experience camping equipment in the wild,” the company said.
That includes pitching a tent and test-driving it, including virtually walking around inside to see how roomy or cramped it is, and how many people it sleeps.
The brand, which is named after Moose Jaw, the fourth-largest city in the Canadian province of Saskatchewan, has an irreverent personality. Its goofy test lab video series features a nerdy character in a white lab coat, who puts products through farcical tests. For example, a race between a Russian nesting doll champion and the MSR Windburner combo stove system to prove its packability.
Comerford claimed that the Walmart acquisition “has helped us take our business to the next level. Walmart’s scale has enabled us to offer free two-day shipping on orders over $49, invest in technology improvements to the Moosejaw site, and enhance our rewards program, resulting in a 50 percent increase in redemption rate and bring Moosejaw to exponentially more customers.”
Why not just call the new store the Moosejaw store, Comerford asked rhetorically. “The goal is to provide a destination for outdoor enthusiasts where Moosejaw pulls the best outdoor brands from many sources,” he said. “While much of the existing assortment of the Premium Outdoor Store will be fulfilled by Moosejaw, we plan to broaden the assortment over time to potentially include products from other specialty outdoor retailers and from other outdoor brands. That’s why we used a fancy word like ‘curated.'”