Let’s be honest, no one in their right mind goes to a Walmart simply to wander around the aisles and waste time. Granted, it’s easy to get lost in the cavernous halls of the supercenter, Walmart is not a place you go to casually shop or to check out what’s new and exciting. Shoppers are typically on a mission, looking that that one item or several items that they need so they can get in and get out. The retailer recognizes that, and they’re working to possibly correct that image through a really unique and potentially exciting retail technology venture.
According to a number of patent filings with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, reported on by Bloomberg, Walmart is looking to develop a “virtual showroom” and automated fulfillment system that would connect VR headset-wearing customers and sensor-packed gloves with a virtual representation of a Walmart store. By combining the VR technology with this retail software, customers would be able to strap on a VR headset, roam the aisles of this virtual Walmart, and actually “grab” items off of the shelves. Upon checkout, those items would be picked out and shipped from a fully automated distribution center.
The move follows Walmart’s acquisition earlier this year of virtual reality startup Spatialand, a company that makes software tools for VR creators to turn their existing content into more immersive VR experiences. The company was moved into Walmart’s Store No. 8 incubator program.