Walmart is going all-in on virtual reality.
The retailer has announced plans to send a total of 17,000 Oculus Go virtual-reality headsets to all neighborhood markets, discount stores, and Supercenters across the country for use in training associates.
The headsets will be used to train about one million Walmart employees across the company’s more than 4,700 US stores. They will be shipped starting in October and will arrive in every store by the end of the year.
Walmart has been using VR to train employees in its Walmart Academies, which are centers in some stores that offer regional managers the chance to learn more advanced retail skills, since 2017. This new program greatly expands the number of employees being taught using VR.
Walmart is taking the program wide because it’s found success using the headsets, which improved test scores by giving employees confidence and helping them to retain information, the retailer said.
“The great thing about VR is its ability to make learning experiential,” Andy Trainor, senior director for Walmart’s US Academies, said in a press release.
“When you watch a module through the headset, your brain feels like you actually experienced a situation. We’ve also seen that VR training boosts confidence and retention while improving test scores 10 to 15 percent — even those associates who simply watched others experience the training saw the same retention boosts.”
The VR programs will teach employees about new technology that is being introduced in stores, like the new pickup towers, as well as soft skills like “empathy and customer service, and compliance.”