Updated: Jul 18, 2020
Without question, COVID19 has dramatically changed the way people shop in person and go to the movies, with movie theaters experiencing dramatic losses due to social distancing requirements and being completely shutdown at the end of March 2020 except for a few drive-in theaters.
Blockbuster movies have been forced to skip theatrical release and go straight to streaming, which has shown to remain positive for movie studios who have seen record streaming numbers and the biggest releases such as Trolls World Tour seeing revenue numbers close to box office number of their previous releases and breaking digital records.
Through the pandemic, large grocery and warehouse have seen massive growth in sales, with Walmart saying "profits rose 4 percent, to $3.99 billion, during the first quarter" creating a demand which has causes them to dramatically increase hiring.
If grocery is doing well and in-person movies are doing poorly due to community restrictions on public gatherings, why is Walmart turning 160 locations into Drive-In Theaters? People are visiting and shopping from Walmart anyway, so why partner with Tribeca Enterprises?
Walmart's Opportunity in the Drive-In Partnership
Retailers such as Walmart look for media opportunities whenever possible to drive overall brand awareness, and this opportunity in the drive-in movies is a method to influence Walmart's clients and local community good-will, Sales, Branding, and explore its own Software Products.
Walmart's Clients and Local Community Good-Will
Customer loyalty and retention are the best way to increase profits and brand awareness. The more loyal your customer the more they spend in your stores and more likely they are to tell others about their experiences. Walmart has been able to keep customers by providing low prices for years and has dramatically increases quality over the last decade.
At many of its locations, Walmart is the only grocery or retailer with mass variety (even if they were the reason no other shop exist in those towns today) in the area where going to Walmart can be like going to the mall. By providing a local gathering place to watch movies in the comfort of your car, Walmart will provide the community with an enjoyable activity to escape being stuck at home. You can safely assume many customers coming to watch a movie will likely spend time in the store, whether to buy snacks for the screening, groceries to take home after, or an electronic item they didn't realize they needed (wanted) until they got in the store.
Make no mistake, Walmart is a technology company. They may have started as big box retailer, but now have a technology infrastructure on the retail and eCommerce side which rivals Amazon. From in store retail, omni-channel commerce, eCommerce, inventory management, native mobile app, requiring blockchain in food production, and even patenting its own cryptocurrency coin, Walmart is on the frontier of retail technology.
GPS location has long been used by app developers to serve relevant advertisements when in close proximity to a retail establishment. Providing offers via in-app push notifications of discounts, deals, food, etc. while customers are watching a movie in the parking lot provide a direct line to customers. Customer retention cost become $0.
Augmented Reality and Interactive Gaming
Typically at a Drive-In, movie goers tune in their car radios to a specific station to listen to the movie. Walmart can consider introducing elements of the mobile app to make the experience more interactive. Whether that be pumping movie audio through the an app on your phone which is then connected to your car's Bluetooth, having QR codes appear on screen during previews which drive you to an interaction, game, coupon, etc., having polls and questions appear on screen, or even AR opportunities with having elements of the movie appear out of frame when viewing through the camera of your mobile phone. Traditional movie theaters discourage phone use during the screening, where at the drive-in it could be encouraged to measure engagement.
Grocery Delivery & Curbside Pickup
Walmart has long had curbside pickup available through its mobile app. Movie goers, could have their groceries and items brought to their car just before the movie ends so they can take care of there shopping needs while finishing up an enjoyable activity.
Walmart in the Movie Business
While it may sound unlikely for a retail commerce company to get in the movie business, we can all remember that it seemed unlikely for a retail eCommerce company to get in the movie business. If it makes sense for Amazon, it definitely makes sense for Walmart. Content creation is all about user engagement and keeping customers in network, something Amazon has learned very well. Walmart could get in the movie business for all the same reasons Amazon has, plus one more, distribution. If Walmart get's in the movie business they have thousands of locations around the world to distribute the release via Drive-In Theaters in parking lots. They own their own distribution channel which is in person and works during social distancing.
Product for Startups Course at TF Labs
TF Labs works with companies, brands, startups, and founders on product strategy, management and execution. Through this process we have learned there are many entrepreneurs, aspiring entrepreneurs, and early startup employees, who would greatly benefit from learning product through the lens of a startup.
Our first course starts in the Fall. Take a look or email email@example.com with any questions.