Walmart is making big changes to how it sells toys this holiday season, and some will be permanent

Hollis Johnson/Business InsiderWalmart announced that it’s ‘America’s best toy shop’ at a press conference in New York.
  • Walmart has announced that it’s “America’s best toy shop” in a bid to be thought of not only as America’s largest toy seller, but its most adept as well.
  • The retailer is expanding its selection and exclusives for toys both online and in stores. It’s also making more room in-store for toys.
  • It’s additionally bringing in “toy influencers” to offer their expert opinions.
  • Some of these changes will not revert after the holidays and are intended to be permanent.

Walmart is making moves in the toy department.

The retailer has announced it will be expanding its assortment of toys before the holiday season kicks off, with “more toys than we’ve ever carried before,” Walmart’s VP of toys, Anne Marie Kehoe, said at a press conference announcing the plans on Thursday.

Many of the changes Walmart is making to its toy section, which it is calling its “America’s best toys shop” initiative, are permanent and will last even after the holiday season is over. The bold move into toys is likely a result of Walmart seeing an opportunity after the bankruptcy and liquidation of Toys R Us.

“We want to be there for shoppers who are looking for an alternative for Toys R Us,” Kehoe said. “We want to be the best.”

Walmart will be expanding its selection by 40% online. 30% of the toys it’s stocking in stores will be brand new. Walmart will also make room for more toys in stores, and in some locations, it will even be adding more aisles to stock them.

Walmart said it will have 1,000 toys exclusive to the retailer, 300 of which are brand new.

In-store, Walmart is tripling the number of in-store events it is planning, including toy demonstrations and other events.

Layaway is starting earlier this year, on August 31, and Walmart has changed how the program works to ensure that if the price of the toy drops before the toy is picked up, the customer gets the cheapest price automatically.

As usual, the company did its research to find out the top toys for the holiday before the busiest retail season rolls around again. The company brought in hundreds of kids to test and play with dozens of toys so the store could see what resonated the most. Based on that, Walmart selected the top 40 toys it thinks every kid will covet this year. That’s up from the selection of 25 toys in previous years.

This year, however, Walmart also enlisted the help of some “toy influencers” to help it decide what to put on its list. These influencers will have their own lists of favourite toys, as well as content to help guide shoppers on not only popular toys, but toys for different interests and needs.

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