Walmart Taps Sofia Vergara, Jamie Oliver, Patti LaBelle for Interactive Cooking Shows on E-Commerce Hub

Walmart whipped up a new recipe that bakes content, commerce and celebrity into an interactive-video shopping site.

The retailing giant on Thursday officially launched Walmart Cookshop (cookshop.eko.com) together with interactive-video company Eko. The site is stocked with 22 how-to cooking episodes with chefs and celeb hosts, including Sofia Vergara and her son, Manolo (pictured above), Jamie Oliver, Patti LaBelle and Ree Drummond (aka the Pioneer Woman), as well as recipes from BuzzFeed’s Tasty.

The videos on Walmart Cookshop lets viewers make certain choices to customize the ingredients in each of the recipes. For example, Jamie Oliver’s veggie quesadillas video lets you select among scallions, red bell peppers or both.

Then — and more important for Walmart’s revenue goals — the videos let you purchase products and groceries from the nearest Walmart location, either for pickup or delivery. With a single click, you can add all of the ingredients in a given recipe to your virtual shopping cart.

Walmart and Eko launched a beta test of Cookshop last fall and found the click-through rate of viewers to the e-commerce features was 8.7%, which they claim is well over the industry standard of about 2%.

Walmart first invested in Eko in 2018, taking a $250 million stake, planning to develop a slate of interactive content that would turn viewers into shoppers. Under the partnership, the companies have created toy showcase Wonder Lab, shows that let you shop for clothing and home decor, and interactive experiences including Camp (featuring Drew Barrymore’s makeup challenge) and GiftFinder, hosted by Tia Mowry.

The companies curated the recipes on Walmart Cookshop to focus on healthy eating and family meals. The site includes a “My Favorites” section for visitors to save recipes; a share function; and additional shopping prompts to lets viewers “shop the moment they are inspired.”

Walmart and Eko are prepping additional content for Cookshop. A special episode with Sofia and Manolo Vergara, launching March 1, will “teach you how to throw the perfect party” and feature dishes that are “authentic to their Colombian heritage,” according to a rep.

“We are pleased to bring our customers unique, innovative experiences like Walmart Cookshop, which provides much-needed inspiration and joy while many are safely staying at home throughout the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Justin Breton, strategic brand partnerships at Walmart.

New York-based Eko, founded in 2010 and previously called Interlude, works with media companies, independent creators and marketers to create interactive storytelling content.

The company says it has secured more than 15 patents for its technology. Eko last year sued Quibi, the now-defunct mobile startup led by Jeffrey Katzenberg and Meg Whitman, alleging patent infringement and trade-secret theft. Quibi has denied the claims and is challenging the suit.

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