In its ongoing battle with Amazon in the online marketplace, Walmart is stepping up the ante with the recent filing of a patent for virtual reality online shopping. The idea is that you will be able to experience your shopping as if you were really in the store.
Through the use of virtual reality technology, you would have the sensation of entering the store, walking around, making your purchase, and leaving. The concept is being touted as being just like visiting an actual store.
The patent, which was first discovered by Bloomberg, stated the virtual stores would allow shoppers to have a three-dimensional representation of an actual Walmart store. When the individual shopper adds a virtual item to their basket, that item would be placed within a virtual shopping cart. Then after the customer “checks out”, the item would be shipped just like any other online purchase would be.
It is speculated that the new virtual reality approach to shopping may be the brainchild of Walmart’s Store No. 8 incubator. This is where they develop new, improved high tech ways to get products into consumers hands.
Walmart has been promising this concept for a while now, and even went so far as to hold a gala in Los Angeles in late 2017. They used the opportunity to present how they felt virtual reality could affect the retail process in years to come—sooner than later.
Amazon is rumored to be working on and developing their own take on virtual reality shopping.
Although being able to shop your local Walmart from home, in a virtual reality setting would be cool, in concept it may never come to pass.
The primary problem is that each shopper would have to have their own VR headset. And as most know, getting consumers to jump on the bandwagon of learning a new retail platform has more than a few shortcomings.
However, the idea is being bounced around, and may one day become a very viable option. But that might be more of a later rather than sooner scenario at this point.