Why Walmart is Doubling Down on Augmented Reality
Generally, it is still much more effective to stroll through a store than it is to scroll through a website. AR is changing that, and as a result retailers and other commerce-focused platforms are rolling out new AR tools left and right
Walmart stands out because Walmart has the ability to introduce the power of AR to more consumers than almost any other retailer given its massive global reach.
At the end of June 2022 — Walmart announced the rollout of an AR shopping tool for furniture, the acquisition of AR optical tech company Memomi and shared plans for a new in-store AR shelf scanning tool.
Walmart has been making big moves in the realm of digital experience (or DX) for several years now, including and beyond AR. In just the last year alone the company has:
- Released a whole host of shoppable content partnerships with the likes of TalkShopLive, So Yummy, Meredith and Roku;
- Doubled down on its Roku partnership with a full-on TV commerce deal that allows customers to buy products directly from their TVs;
- Opened its third-party marketplace to sellers from the UK, thereby expanding its website assortment even further; and
- Become the first retailer to host a shoppable livestream on Twitter in late 2021.
Walmart recently unveiled a new AR feature in its iOS app that allows customers to virtually try out around 300 furniture and home décor items in their spaces, either while they are in stores or at home. The retailer plans to expand its assortment of AR-enabled products in the coming months with a focus initially on popular back-to-college items.
One upcoming project that the Walmart technical staff is working on is AR-powered product sorting that would let customers filter the products on store shelves similar to a results filter on a website. It would allow customers to point their mobile devices at shelves via the Walmart app to easily find the right products. For example, a customer could filter all the available items on a shelf to see which ones are gluten-free.