Walmart has started testing a virtual shopping technology that lets customers browse a curated apartment featuring 70 branded and private label products. The virtual reality (VR) interface allows shoppers to click on anything that interests them to get more information.
The 3D tour will be enhanced with a “Buy the Room” option, which will initially include five curated collections of up to 20 items designed to complete a dorm room or apartment. While both concepts will launch with small living spaces in mind, they could be implemented more broadly on Walmart’s web site in the future.
The virtual shopping updates are the latest development in an overhaul of Walmart’s specialty home shopping experience that began in February. The initiative launched with a dedicated Home destination page offering nine shop-by-style options, as well as content and design tips to educate shoppers and help them create a uniform look.
Walmart has made other investments in VR: its technology incubator Store No. 8 acquired VR specialist Spatialand in February 2018. The startup specializes in turning existing content into VR experiences.
The retail giant’s interest in VR is not surprising: use of the technology in retail and marketing is expected to generate $1.8 billion in 2022, up from $181 million in 2017, according to ABI Research. Startups specializing in AR and VR raised $3.6 billion in the 12 months prior to the end of Q1 2018, according to Venture Beat. Related companies raised $750 million in the first three months of 2018.