Walmart steps up VR training initiative

Walmart steps up VR training initiative

Last year, Walmart started using virtual reality technology to upgrade training at Walmart Academies. And it is now providing Oculus VR headsets to all stores in the US to bring the same level of training to more than one million associates.

“The great thing about VR is its ability to make learning experiential,” says Andy Trainor, Senior Director of Walmart US Academies. “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% – even those associates who simply watched others experience the training saw the same retention boosts.”

Starting next month, VR training will begin its launch across the US, sending four headsets to every Walmart supercentre and two units to every Neighborhood Market and discount store. The plan is to have more than 17,000 Oculus Goheadsets in stores by the end of the year.

Walmart is looking to use VR to train associates in three main areas: new technology, soft skills like empathy and customer service, and compliance. It says that VR training is particularly helpful for learning new tech.

In a pilot test this summer, 10 stores used VR for training on new Pickup Tower units in their stores. VR is allowing associates to be trained before the towers are even installed, no teachers required. This will be key as Walmart continues to roll-out new tech to stores, the retailer says.

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