Good luck trying to match this one, Amazon.com (AMZN).
Walmart (WMT) is bringing professional bull riders and their bovine charges to 40 of its U.S. stores this year and another 200 next year in a bid to provide more fun to its stores as part of a “retail-tainment” strategy aimed at attracting more shoppers. (The retailer operates about 4,000 stores in all in the United States.)
Earlier this year, Walmart teamed up with the Professional Bull Riders league to bring bulls and their riders to stores in Sioux Falls, S.D., Little Rock, Ark., and Las Vegas. The events were such a hit that PBR is taking the show to those additional stores this year and next. According to AdAge, PBR’s television ratings are up 20% this year. While there is no actual bullriding in a Walmart parking lot, customers can mingle with the pro rider and get a peak at the animals in nearby tractor-trailers.
“Just as the world is becoming more digital, a lot of our customers are craving for a more physical, real experience, and a live retail experience,” Walmart Chief Marketing Officer Tony Rogers told a recent meeting of the company’s suppliers, according to AdAge.
The largest U.S. retailer, with 2015 sales of nearly $300 billion, has reported six straight quarters of shopper traffic increases, and is eager to find new ways to bring shoppers in and give people a reason not to go shop on Amazon. Adding more fun to stores is key as everyone from other discounters to department store ramp up their own efforts to attract more shoppers to stores. For instance, during the holiday season, Target (TGT) opened up a Winter Wonderland mini-store in Manhattan with riders and interactive videos featuring its signature bull terrier.