Walmart is taking the next step into the world of virtual reality — and the company is bringing its employees along on the ride. The multinational retailer will begin rolling out Oculus Go headsets in mass to all of its 4,500-plus retail locations in the United States. Aimed at assisting associates in learning new skills, Walmart notes that the technology will help the company boost employee retention and confidence during training experiences.
Walmart first began dabbling with VR experiences last year, when it incorporated the emerging technology into 30 Walmart Academies. According to Walmart’s Senior Director of U.S. Academies, adding VR to its training routine has boosted both confidence and retention, while also increasing general test scores by up to 15 percent. The company claims that even associates who watch the training are benefiting from increased retention.
Oculus Go has created an affordable and portable offering for companies looking to integrate the solution into their workflows. Walmart noted that it expects to have more than 17,000 Oculus Go headsets in stores by the end of the year. Larger Supercenter locations will receive four headsets for the project, while smaller neighborhood markets and discount stores will receive two to get started.
The new venture is possible thanks to the team at STRIVR, a company that helps organizations train their people through VR. “The power of VR is real, and when offered as a cornerstone of learning and development, it can truly transform the way an organization trains its people,” STRIVR CEO Derek Belch said in a statement.
Walmart plans to focus on three main areas with its VR training programs: new technologies, customer service, and compliance. Recently, the company launched its new PickUp Tower system, allowing customers to pick up pre-ordered goods they ordered online via a robotic storage system. Ten stores used the VR solution to train their associates to work with the new technology before the PickUp Towers were installed.
Using VR as a training solution for corporations can help immerse associates in memorable experiences while cutting down on the number of individuals needed to teach the new material. Walmart joins the ranks of companies stepping into a new dimension of reality, and with a noticeable increase in knowledge retention and test scores, it isn’t likely to be the last.