Spatial&, Walmart’s virtual reality (VR) platform and content studio, will use VR technology at Walmart stores across the country to offer a virtual experience titled, “How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World Virtual Tour.” The retailer and solution provider created the VR-driven retail experience in collaboration with DreamWorks Animation and sponsorship from HP, Intel and Positron.
Participants will don headsets and sit in motion-controlled VR chairs powered by VR backpacks to take a five-minute journey through the world of How To Train Your Dragon, the popular film series that debuted in 2010 and will continue with the release this year of How To Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World. They will then have an opportunity to browse related merchandise in an immersive branded gift shop. The experience will travel to 16 cities between Feb. 15 and April 9, 2019.
“Collaborating with DreamWorks Animation and its iconic How to Train Your Dragon franchise is such an exciting way to bring Spatial&’s first-ever activation to the public,” said Katie Finnegan, CEO of Spatial& in a statement. “Spatial& was founded based on the belief that VR will transform merchandising and retail, and we can’t wait to finally share this uniquely immersive shopping experience with consumers across the country.”
Walmart may devote more of its physical stores’ real estate to VR experiences as more sales move online. Finnegan told CNBC that such a shift could occur “in the five- to seven-year time horizon.”
In the meantime, Walmart is harnessing VR and AR to enhance the online shopping experience. The retailer is offering shoppers the ability to browse a curated 3D apartment that shows off 70 branded and private label products.
The technology is also operational behind-the-scenes, where new associates are training using VR headsets. More than 1 million workers have been taught how to use the headsets, which offer lessons on empathy, customer service, using new technology and compliance.