Walmart has announced that it has been working on two brand new AR (Augmented Reality) features that are going to help customers make better shopping decisions both in-store and at home. The first feature that is going to roll out in July is a feature that we have seen before with large retailer’s apps, and that is the ability for customers to be able to see how products will look in their homes.
Whilst this isn’t brand new technology as both Etsy and Amazon have experimented with similar AR technology, this is new to the Walmart catalog. To begin with, this feature will only be available on iOS devices with android and mobile web functionality coming later.
The AR experience will initially be available for 300 furniture and home décor items on the Walmart app, with plans to expand to popular back-to-college items over the coming months. To access the feature, all a customer needs to do is click the ‘View in your space’ banner on AR-enabled items when shopping in the app, and this will walk them through how to connect to their camera and see the item in their own space.
Whilst AR technology has been branded a gimmick in the past, Walmart believes they have managed to make something that is intuitive and gives customers a good experience. Even sharing some feedback from testers:
“The visuals were so realistic and it didn’t place an item in a strange spot as with some other apps. I often don’t even try this feature in other apps for this reason but I’m very impressed. I really loved this experience.”Walmart Customer AR Tester
Walmart has also announced that the feature will include several key accessibility features for disabled customers to use the feature, including voice-based descriptions and instructions for blind or visually impaired users.
The AR feature also includes haptic feedback, which allows customers to feel vibrations as they maneuver 3D models around their homes and prevents them from dragging items past the boundaries of their room, adding a compelling level of realism to the experience.
Walmart Brings AR Functionality In-Store
The Walmart Global Tech team saw an interesting opportunity with AR technology and wanted to see if it could be utilized not just by customers but also by team members too to help make their lives easier and more efficient.
This led to the development of an AR technology that allows Walmart associates to quickly identify what boxes in the back of the store need to be taken to the shelves and restocked, thus avoiding a much longer and manual task of scanning various boxes to find the correct products.
This feature is currently live in over 3500 stores nationwide and will roll out to the remaining stores across the summer. Resulting in increased efficiency and hopefully fuller shelves across the Walmart network.
Utilizing this technology, however, has meant that in-store customers could also benefit from the features with a few clever tweaks. For example, this technology could allow Walmart customers to simply point their mobile device camera at a store’s shelves via the Walmart app to filter out the product assortment based on their personal preferences.
This means if a customer is gluten-free, using the AR in-store tool, they’ll be able to use their phone to read food ingredients quickly and easily identify gluten-free products, by highlighting on their screen which ones fit their chosen preferences or criteria.
Whilst there is no release date for this functionality, Walmart is clearly aware of the possibilities and is using the same technology internally so it stands to reason we could see trials rolling out sooner rather than later.
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