Walmart are no strangers to virtual reality (VR) and now it seems the company is looking into how they can leverage the technology to allow shoppers to experience the joy of shopping from their own home. According to two new patents filed by the company, this could very well become a reality.
As reported by Bloomberg, the two patents have been filed with the U.S Patent and Trademark Office and detail a “virtual show room” and fulfillment system that would connect shoppers wearing a VR headset and sensor-packed gloves to a complete 3D recreation of a Walmart store. This system would allow shoppers to wander the digital aisles from their own home and “grab” items they want, which would be immediately picked and shipped from a fully automated distribution center.
This new VR system is yet another move from Walmart to embrace the technology as a means to help improve performance and sales. It is no secret that brick-and-mortar retailers have seen struggles in recent years so this more to support the immersive technology is a solid move from the company. In February of this year, Walmart acquired Spatialand, a startup that makes software tools to create VR experiences and it is most likely their work that has seen these new patents come to life.
As noted by Bloomberg, Walmart have filed for more than a dozen VR patents but their focus has shifted from using VR for internal business to more external, shopper-focus applications. Explains Zoe Leavitt, a managing analyst at patent researcher CB Insights, speaking to Bloomberg about the new patents.
Early this year Walmart released an online virtual apartment shopping experience. This allows customers the chance to explore a pre-made apartment, complete with a number of products that are available to purchase just by the user clicking on them within the experience. This not only offers an immersive shopping option but also helps customers visualize how the items might look within their own home.