Since Mark Zuckerberg, owner of Meta, announced the development of the metaverse last October, countless companies and entrepreneurs have set out to colonize this ambitious virtual world. One of them, Walmart, predicted years ago a future in which you can go to the supermarkets without having to leave the house thanks to virtual reality.
This experience created in collaboration with Mutual Mobile for the SXSW event in 2017 showed an example of how the American chain Walmart imagines virtual purchases will be in the future.
The grocery store owner created a three-dimensional digital environment that allows shoppers to walk the aisles of a Walmart anchored in the metaverse.
Moving around the supermarket without leaving home
The virtual version of the Walmart supermarket that could be part of the metaverse proposal. Photo: Walmart
The hologram in question, called Purchasing Assistance Module (SAM), assists the buyer throughout the process. By having a shopping list in which the ketchup was registered, SAM teleports the user directly to a virtual hallway filled with ketchup.
As in life itself, the user will be able to choose the product they want and the interface will immediately show a description, a price and some nutritional values while suggesting related recipes.
Lastly, the wizard has the ability to suggest related products. “It sounds like you need a pairing wine,” recommends SAM.
The wines are conveniently located on the shelf on the right and when putting one in the cart SAM clarifies that it has verified that the user is of legal age to buy alcoholic beverages, among the multiple functions that the virtual assistant will have.
The next scene in the video is the electronics corridors. The customer has the possibility to choose a television while viewing the opinions and ratings of other users on the Walmart website. By placing it in the cart, SAM can recommend a number of add-on products that are commonly purchased alongside the television.
Although the video is two years old, it has now become more relevant given the expectations that large companies from various sectors have in the metaverse. This virtual experience is part of the vision of Jeremy King, the former CTO of Walmart, who transformed the supermarket chain into a technology company.
In his last appearance at SXSW, in 2019, King was still betting on virtual reality, as well as the computer vision and deep learning algorithms, to learn more about your customers and facilitate the purchase process (in addition to pushing them to buy more products).
Despite the grocery chain’s best efforts, Amazon managed to overtake Walmart last year as the global leader in US retail sales.