If recently-published patent filings are any indication, Walmart is currently developing VR shopping solutions.
Walmart has been actively seeking new online solutions to drive more sales, in its attempts to counter-attack Amazon that has digitally trod on its brick-and-mortar territory.
When it comes to e-commerce, Walmart may have an edge over its competition by being able to leverage its wide distribution network of over 5,000 retail stores in the U.S.
But before getting to fulfill an order, Walmart has to bring in digital customers.
Besides integrating tech into its stores, like cashier-free service and reworking its online presence with rich content, Walmart is especially keen on giving its customers the possibility to use a VR headset to do their shopping.
Earlier this year, the retail giant made its intentions for virtual reality seem serious when Store No. 8, Walmart’s tech incubator, acquired Spatialand Inc., a VR startup.
Months later, Walmart started rolling out tailored VR experiences and solutions, of course all geared toward shopping.
Walmart Puts a VR Spin on Shopping
As the world’s largest retail chain, Walmart wants to bring the best of physical and digital shopping to its customers, and what’s more promising than VR to do that?
In late June, Walmart began testing a new at-home VR shopping experience it calls 3D Virtual Shopping Tour, which allows users to virtually explore an apartment and browse around 70 items arranged naturally as part of the decor.
Now, Walmart is doubling down on that.
A shopper would slide on a VR headset and sensory gloves to shop at home without having to drive to a nearby store.
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VR shopping is more convenient as it replicates the in-store experience at home. Users will be able to see the item and virtually feel it before committing to purchase.
Robots running the fulfillment system will be waiting for shoppers to make their decision so they can grab the order from the warehouse and prepare it for shipping.
As convenience goes, Walmart customers can order the same items directly on its website, faster, but VR allows shoppers to “interact” more with objects. Walmart’s system can “generate sensory feedback”, for example, to simulate the resistance of a lawnmower.
While Amazon continues pushing into the brick-and-mortar world, Walmart is dead set on having a piece of the e-commerce pie.