EXCLUSIVE: Serena Williams’ Will Perform to Enter Walmart
Serena Williams’ topical performance care brand Will Perform is headed to Walmart.
After entering Target in December 2022, the brand is now more than doubling its footprint, entering 3,000 physical stores with three stock keeping units and Walmart.com with all skus. Including its Target partnership, it will be available at nearly 5,000 doors total nationwide.
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“We’re here to help everyone live active and healthy lives. That’s the big idea and Walmart is the largest retailer in the United States and accessibility is a really important part of our strategy,” said Hank Mercier, cofounder and chief executive officer of Will Perform. “Succeeding at Walmart is critical to our success.”
Based on consumer feedback since launch, the brand chose three specific skus to enter Walmart, also choosing select stores they thought would be most successful.
“We’re going to have the Relief products, the Will Relieve Lidocaine Pain Relief Roll-On, $13, the Will Relieve Lidocaine Pain Relief Spray, $13, but then to show their support of performance care, we’re also going to have our Rest sku [Will Rest Nightly Muscle Recovery Lotion, $13], which was really important to us and really important to Walmart,” said Mercier.
With Will Perform, Williams chose to emphasize performance care, rather than pain, as the brand’s core consumer is a young, active female. For Mercier, the vibrant packaging, imagery of Williams and use of case-focused product names, like Soothe and Rest, will speak to this shopper, differentiating Will Perform from heritage brands on the pain aisle. Furthermore, the brand is depending on its bold packaging to drive purchases in Walmart.
“We are anticipating a slightly different experience [in Target versus Walmart]. We have three skus versus six. We’ve got beautiful in-store signage with Target, whereas Walmart has very tight standards for signage,” Mercier explained. “Our challenge is to make sure that our packaging, and our marketing plans on Walmart.com and our support of the ecosystem of how Walmart talks to their shoppers, is robust. Packaging is going to have to work really hard for us.”
While the brand is focused on its Walmart strategy, continued retail expansion is on the horizon.
“We’re going to be deliberate about how we expand, but it is reasonable to assume that we have ambitions of being in all key retailers for this category at some point,” Mercier said.