As retailers race to keep up with the convergence of technology, data, and consumer habits, they seek ways to reimagine the shopping experience for their customers.
A customer may not ever realize the staggering amount of technology behind a Walmart store.
To attract customers and dispel the misconception that they’re not as advanced as their digital darling counterparts, brick and mortar establishments are not only accelerating investments in areas like web and mobile – they’re also exploring the very edge of emerging technology. Jason Norris, Emerging Technology Director at Walmart explains,
The story we wanted to tell was: What could shopping in a Walmart be like in the not-too-distant future?
SXSW VR Experience
To impress influencers at SXSW 2017, Walmart envisioned unveiling a fully virtual shopping experience that put shoppers inside the store, without ever leaving their homes.
This ambitious project needed an experienced team to lead the way. But beyond the technical skills needed to assemble a strong VR experience, it also required a clear vision and a drive to create something new and impactful.
Walmart approached Mutual Mobile to build this fully-immersive experience.
We had a couple of other companies that we bid this work out to as well. What Shane and the team put together was head and shoulders above the other two. Just really well thought-out about what the experience would be like.
Potential shoppers could virtually pick up products, read labels, talk to virtual associates, and fill their shopping carts. But the goal wasn’t just to create something interactive. Walmart needed something that showed the potential of VR in retail while putting them ahead of the competition.
A Collaborative Experience
The Walmart and Mutual Mobile teams worked together from the ground up, designing the environment, scripting the dialogue, refining the interactive elements, and making sure the whole experience felt fresh, engaging, and purposeful. Mutual Mobile’s engineers built a 3D environment that allowed shoppers to walk right down the aisle of a virtual Walmart.
Inspiring Walmart Leadership
Walmart’s Emerging Technology team demonstrated the impact of this experience for the company’s shareholders and its Executive Row – inspiring tens of thousands of people in the company to see its potential as a leader in the retail technology space.
We wanted to get some positive buzz, some positive word of mouth, and get people thinking about Walmart as a technology company.
Walking through this virtual Walmart was an experience that wowed the crowd at SXSW and blew away the Walmart executive team.
The value that we got out of the VR experience was really, really high.
I would definitely work with Mutual Mobile again.
The future of retail is evolving. The companies who will succeed are the ones who lead and inspire innovation that redefines the industry.