Walmart - Mike Mozart

Walmart Steps Up Its Virtual Experience

July 2, 2018         By: Steven Anderson

Walmart has been eagerly, almost frantically, reminding people that it’s not just about the stores—and the inherent People of Walmart therein—for the last few months now. A digital shopping experience was the first to roll out, and now, Walmart’s announcing two new ways to shop its website.

The first such new arrival is a virtual shopping tour, one that allows customers to walk through a simulated apartment and check out the various items therein. There are about 70 such items available, reports note, coming from both major national brands and Walmart’s own branded releases. If a product catches a user’s eye, they can interact with it directly and get more information.

The second is known as “Buy the Room”, an almost scorched-earth strategy that calls for shoppers to buy entire rooms at once, as laid out. Designed as a strategy for the apartment or dorm dweller, Buy the Room offers what amounts to curated collections of products intended to go together. There will be five such rooms on hand with up to 20 items in each, reports note, and further expansion is likely to follow.

Anthony Soohoo, Walmart’s senior vice president and group general manager for ecommerce operations in the home market in the US, noted “Since launching the new home experience back in February, we’ve been hearing great feedback from customers commenting on our stylish home dĂ©cor at affordable prices…. With the addition of the 3D Virtual Shopping Tour and Buy the Room, browsing and shopping for your home will be even easier.”

It’s a bit presumptuous of Walmart to offer complete room packages—what if a particular item doesn’t meet with the user’s approval? Will they Buy the Room and then replace a certain item later?—but if the costs are sufficiently low, it’s likely going to be a welcome addition for the first-time apartment dweller or the kid going back to college. One quick transaction and a room is furnished. That’s extremely convenient, if not exactly long on personal taste and expression.

Still, for those who value convenience over all, this could be just the ticket. A mobile payments connection here isn’t hard to spot either; smartphones are a big part of VR these days. Walmart may have a winner here after all.