Walmart goes tiny to reach nature-loving vacationers

Discussion
Photo: Walmart
Aug 08, 2022

Walmart has partnered with Getaway, known for its quaint cabins across the U.S., to open a 75-square foot “The General Store by Walmart” store concept on wheels at select Getaway “Outposts.”

Walmart becomes the first official retail partner for Getaway, which plans to add nine new outposts across the U.S. by the end of 2022, reaching 28 locations and 1,000 cabins. Getaway promises guests “disconnected stays in nature” located less than a two-hour drive from major cities. It’s currently averaging above 84 percent occupancy.

Walmart’s “mini-retail experience” will stock FujiFilm cameras, Lodge Cast Iron Skillets, Pendleton Outdoor Blankets, Burt’s Bees lip balms as well as books, games, toiletries and other items for hiking and leisure activities.

The mix will include seasonal products, “sourced from Walmart and curated by the outdoor experts at Getaway,” including goods from local businesses. Welcome Kits will be provided at check-in, including ingredients to make s’mores.

Walmart goes tiny to reach nature-loving vacationers
Photo: Walmart

Items will also be available online at Walmart’s Getaway landing page for guests to shop before their visit. Walmart told Adweek the Getaway page will include “influencer picks” with curated items as well as recommendations from those renting a Getaway cabin. Walmart will promote the partnership on social media in August when the first store opens at Getaway Hill Country in Wimberley, TX.

“Walmart’s partnership with Getaway furthers our mission to help people live better no matter where they are,” said Casey Schlaybaugh, VP, brand marketing, Walmart U.S.  “We are going beyond just saving people money by enabling guests to maximize Getaway’s experience and empowering them to spend more quality time with those who matter most.”

Walmart’s core supercenters average 178,000 square feet and it operates about 800 Neighborhood Market stores ranging from 20,000 to 60,000 square feet, but it hasn’t found success with smaller locations. In 2016, a pilot ended for Walmart Express, a concept averaging 15,000 square feet that was designed to reach urban centers and smaller markets. It has one remaining Walmart On Campus mini-convenience store at the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville near its headquarters, after closing four in other states in recent years.

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: What do you think is behind Walmart’s Getaway partnership? Is “The General Store by Walmart” mostly about a marketing and branding or does the store concept have growth potential?

Please practice The RetailWire Golden Rule when submitting your comments.
Braintrust
"I'm only surprised they didn't do this sooner. "
"Connecting with the outdoor community and consumer, Walmart can learn what the customer is looking for and close the feedback loop quickly."
"This is a brilliant idea! It’s the next frontier for Walmart, but it’s hard to believe that Getaway didn’t call L.L.Bean, Patagonia, REI and others before calling Walmart."

Join the Discussion!

14 Comments on "Walmart goes tiny to reach nature-loving vacationers"


Sort by:   newest | oldest | most voted
DeAnn Campbell
BrainTrust

I’m only surprised they didn’t do this sooner. Walmart has opened their parking lots as a place for RVs to overnight for years, and they have long sold products tailored to camping so this strategy is in total alignment with existing business practices. Considering how massive the RV and campground population is, and how underserved they are while at these campgrounds, Walmart is making one of those moves that is both brilliant and that makes you ask, “what took them so long.”

Neil Saunders
BrainTrust

One of the trends in retail is a push towards niche and micro, especially when tied in with local. This doesn’t mean big boxes are finished, far from it, but there is a gap in the market for smaller formats which are more curated to what consumers in particular circumstances or locations want. This is one example of that, college campus stores are another, modern convenience stores like Foxtrot another. In this case, the revenue gain for Walmart will be minuscule in the broad scheme of things but the advantage is in marketing, creating customer loyalty, and learning how to operate a much smaller format. The latter is important. Walmart has not always been good at smaller stores because it operates off a “mass and volume” mentality. This venture stretches thinking, even if only marginally.

Liza Amlani
BrainTrust

Walmart is meeting customers where and how they want to shop. With an opportunity to curate product assortments, the Getaway partnership will give Walmart leverage compared to other retailers tapping into the outdoor market.

Connecting with the outdoor community and consumer, Walmart can learn what the customer is looking for and close the feedback loop quickly. Capturing customer insights that will drive product and marketing decisions is going to make this partnership successful.

Gary Sankary
BrainTrust

My first reaction to this it, “neat.” I think this is very cool from a branding and marketing standpoint. As a growth opportunity? I’m not as bullish.

Richard Hernandez
BrainTrust
Richard Hernandez
Director of Commerce
1 month 24 days ago

I don’t know about the Fuji cameras these days, but this is a very good idea that is indeed long needed on campgrounds. I hope it continues.

David Spear
BrainTrust

This is a no-brainer and should thrive. How many times have you been in remote locations and you completely forgot to pack a few necessities? Happens all the time. If Walmart is smart with its product selection and can quickly pivot for “hot” items, it will be wildly successful.

Mel Kleiman
BrainTrust

The marketing and branding opportunities make this a winner for both Walmart and Getaway and on top of that the consumer winnings. Who could ask for a better strategy?

Brandon Rael
BrainTrust

Walmart and other retailers are now experimenting with smaller and more micro-retail footprints to meet customers where they are. While Walmart, Target, Best Buy, and others are synonymous with the big box retail experience, “The General Store by Walmart” store concept is a brilliant strategy of partnering with the Getaway team to extend their brand to a potentially new segment of customers.

Smaller format retail stores enable Walmart to focus on a curated assortment, optimized customer experience, and a far more regionalized strategy of meeting the needs of the local community or, in this case, the getaway destination. This customer-first operating model requires a data and analytics-led approach to drive outstanding experiences and have the products and services that the local community will need.

Ken Morris
BrainTrust

This is a brilliant idea! It’s the next frontier for Walmart, but it’s hard to believe that Getaway didn’t call L.L.Bean, Patagonia, REI and others before calling Walmart. Can this even be called “glamping” if there’s a tiny Walmart a few trees away? Also, at $199 to well over $400 a night for the cabin, we’re probably not looking at long stays requiring lots of shopping at the ol’ general store. Still, having an average of 35 “quaint” cabins clustered around a fake general store will always sound better than sweltering in the big city.

Scott Norris
Guest

If a destination is pulling in the kind of tourists who’d buy upscale goods like Pendleton, or “forgot to bring” a cast-iron skillet, there are already specialty merchants in town who are catering to those needs. My grandparents’ cabin was near a town much like Wimberley and part of the appeal for tourists is the local shopping with unique offerings. Simply put, these customers are not Walmart shoppers. And if you want to sell film and water bottles at a campsite, put in a vending machine.

Rich Duprey
Guest

This seems much more about marketing and branding … and bringing more members into the Walmart+ loyalty program. There may be some sales opportunities, but the highly curated look of the stores suggests otherwise.

However, having not heard of Getaway before, I like the look of their cabins, which look like tiny homes on wheels. I’m not sure that crowd is in Walmart’s wheelhouse though.

Ben Ball
Guest

There’s a new Getaway location going up in Asheville now and it will have an Outpost. I’ll do a “BrainTrust Emeritus” review when I get over to check it out. As for the Getaway, it is definitely more “glamping” than camping. I doubt the guests will be buying a lot of Coleman fuel. And as for “remote” — the setting for this one will be pristine, located in a wooded area off the French Broad River. But not so much remote. In fact, back in the glory days when I was still considered a pitcher I could have hit the Biltmore Inn & Spa from there with a fastball. But don’t take my description as disparaging. This is EXACTLY what most tourists coming to the mountains to “experience nature” are looking for — which is a good thing, because it means they leave me alone on the mountain farm.

Kenneth Leung
BrainTrust

Makes sense, considering they are already considered their big box stores are a preferred stop of digital nomads and road-trip travelers. This is an easy cobranding exercise. Wonder if they will try small hotel sundry store partnerships next?

Rich Kizer
BrainTrust

About time. Approximately three years ago we worked with a large camping company. Individual operators voiced their desire to somehow retail camper’s needs instead of watching them drive to the “closest Walmart.” Now it has finally happened. These operators will be voicing their success. And campers get to save the drive.

wpDiscuz
Braintrust
"I'm only surprised they didn't do this sooner. "
"Connecting with the outdoor community and consumer, Walmart can learn what the customer is looking for and close the feedback loop quickly."
"This is a brilliant idea! It’s the next frontier for Walmart, but it’s hard to believe that Getaway didn’t call L.L.Bean, Patagonia, REI and others before calling Walmart."

Take Our Instant Poll

INSTANT POLL: What grade would you give “The General Store by Walmart” concept initiative?

View Results

Loading ... Loading ...