Walmart is rolling out two new augmented reality features on its app designed to make shopping easier.
News of the new app additions came via a post on its website attributed to Brock McKeel, senior vice president of site experience at Walmart eCommerce and Cheryl Ainoa, senior vice president of new businesses and emerging tech at Walmart Global Tech.
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In unveiling the new features, the pair said, “We believe the closest store to our customers is in their pocket, and we are focused on making that always-on experience as easy, engaging and personalized as possible.”
The first feature will be available to all customers by early July on Walmart's iOS app. It allows customers to view furniture and home décor items in their spaces with a few simple swipes on their phones.
This experience will initially be available for 300 furniture and home décor items, with plans to expand to popular back-to-college items over the coming months. To access the feature, customers click the ‘View in your space’ banner on AR-enabled items when shopping in the Walmart app, and this will walk them through how to connect to their camera and see the item in their own space. They also will be able to toggle the item dimensions to check if the item will fit in their space and snap a picture for later,” helping them feel confident purchasing with us.“ ‘View in your space’ will be available on iOS, with plans to roll out on Android and mobile web.
“After extensively testing this feature with our own customers, we received overwhelmingly positive feedback, which helped ensure the experience is as seamless and user-friendly as possible. 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,” the two executives said.
Notably, the feature 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. “This adds a compelling level of realism to the experience. Unlike other AR tools, we incorporated several key accessibility features that help ensure customers with disabilities are able to use these new features. For example, customers with limited mobility can place an item within a room and maneuver it with gesture controls. For customers who are blind or have low vision, the experience provides voice-based instructions and descriptions,” McKeel and Ainoa, said.
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They further pointed out that AR also is enabling new experiences in its stores, helping its associates get products to shelves quickly. “Now Walmart Global Tech is developing a new AR in-store feature that changes how you’ll view key product information. You’ll never look at the store shelf in the same way again! The concept our technologists are building with Walmart designers will allow customers and associates to simply point their mobile device camera at our store shelves via the Walmart app to filter our assortment based on your personal preferences,” McKeel and Ainoa said.
“Imagine you’re a customer who is gluten-free. Using the AR in-store tool, you’ll be able to use your phone to read food ingredients quickly and easily identify gluten-free products. Coupons are another future use case. For example, customers will also be able to scan store shelves to see which items are on rollback, clearance or part of a rewards program. Imagine the possibilities! Perhaps you could scan to see which items are on rollback or receive instant coupons,” said McKeel and Ainoa. “All of these AR-powered features are helping us deliver fast, engaging and personalized experiences that take the work out of shopping and underscore our commitment to using technology to save customers time and money. To check out ‘View in your space,’ please download our app and start visualizing. We can’t wait to hear what you think.”