Walmart Files Patent for Virtual Reality Shopping
BENTONVILLE, FL - Recently filed papers with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office suggest that Walmart shoppers may soon be able to enjoy the in-store experience from the comfort of their own homes—collapsing the brick-and-mortar/online divide through the use of virtual reality.
According to a report by Bloomberg, the retailer recently filed for two patents—available here—detailing plans to create a “virtual show room” and fulfillment system connecting consumers’ VR headsets and sensor-filled gloves to a 3D, virtual Walmart store. Customers would wander the aisles, selecting individualized products that would be immediately selected and shipped via a fully-automated distribution center.
These two patents are the latest foray into VR technology. In February of this year, Walmart acquired Spatialand, a startup that specializes in VR software. Spatialand currently operates under the rubric of Walmart’s in-house incubator Store No. 8, which hosted a “v-commerce gala” last year.
According to Bloomberg, Walmart has filed for over a dozen VR patents, but has only recently shifted from using VR as an internal business solution to using VR as a commercial channel.
Just this May, Walmart revealed a slew of patent filings aimed at in-store innovations—including filings for a “smart” shopping cart, wearable productivity-tracking devises, in-store drone assistants, and a variety of other forward-thinking technological advancements.
How long will it be until we’re able to walk the aisles remotely, have our shopping carts answer store layout questions, and see shelves stocked by drones? AndNowUKnow will continue to report on the future of fresh food retail.