Walmart looks to simplify the price checking process with augmented reality.
It’s no secret that Walmart, the biggest retailer in the world, is actively embracing the full potential of AR and VR to keep them ahead of their competition.
The American multinational company has explored cutting edge ideas such as Post Mobile AR for in-store displays of Nest products, filed patents for a virtual showroom and VR headset, and has even announced plans to train every U.S. based employee using an Oculus Go through STRIVR’s VR training program.
Adding to their ongoing push towards a high-tech in-store experience, the company is now putting AR in the hands of their loyal consumers with an update to the official Walmart app that introduces an AR Scanner for in-store price comparisons.
Available on all devices running iOS 11.3 or higher, the new AR tool allows customers to scan physical products to display up-to-date information that includes the product name, how much the item costs, customer reviews from Walmart.com, and other valuable information – all by moving your device back and forth scanning the labels on stores shelves.
Think of it as using your smartphone like a cursor in the real-world.
In a recent blog post, senior engineering manager at Walmart Labs, Tim Fields said, “Walmart store shoppers love using our mobile app bar code scanner as a price checker. Our team sees the potential of this product as so much more,” adding, “When a customer launches the scanner, they get a direct connection between the digital and the physical world that their screen and camera lens creates for them.”
Walmart’s AR Scanner was created by a team of employees during an internal Walmart hackathon designed to highlight how AR can improve the shopping experience for their customers. Using Apple’s ARKit 2.0, the team set out to solve the three biggest customer complaints regarding current AR shopping experiences:
- How could Walmart make the scanning experience not only load faster, but feel faster, so customers don’t feel frustrated while standing in the aisle of the store waiting for information to pop up?
- Would customers be more likely to make a purchase or add items to your cart if you had the ability to easily compare products by more than just price?
- Would customers use their AR Scanning option if it was fun and simple to use?
Using AR as part of the shopping experiences isn’t an entirely new concept. Other retailers, such as Amazon, IKEA, and Wayfair, are using AR to customers preview furniture by placing digital tables and chairs throughout their living space, while social media apps like Snapchat and Facebook use technology to let users see how they might look in a pair of new sunglasses or the latest makeup.
Walmart’s ambition is to go beyond simple gimmicks and dig deeper into a digital AR shopping experience that could permanently alter the Walmart shopping experience.
By bringing together multiple technologies, it feels as though Walmart is attempting to combine the advantages of online shopping with conventional, brick-and-mortar storefronts.
Walmart really seems to understand the potential of using AR technology to add value to real-world shopping experiences. The minimal learning curve and easy accessebility through smartphone devices make augmented reality the perfect tool for in-store shopping.
Walmart’s AR Scanner is available in the latest version of the Walmart app on the Apple App Store. iPhone devices running iOS 11.3 or higher are required.
Image Credit: Walmart / Tim Sears