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Walmart.com has launched a 3-D virtual shopping tour and Buy the Room feature for the home category to give consumers a more elevated and inspiring shopping experience.
While the technology is being leveraged for home products only, Anthony Soohoo, senior vice president and group general manager, home, U.S. e-commerce, said, “While we’re launching these new features for dorm rooms and small-space living, we know that they could have applications elsewhere and will continue to listen to customer feedback to determine how to implement them more broadly on the site.”
A test of the 3-D virtual shopping tour that started today allows customers to virtually view a curated apartment showcasing almost 70 items, including national brands and Walmart private labels. As consumers explore the apartment, they can click on products of interest in each room to get more information.
The other new feature, Buy the Room, will bow in July, giving shoppers a new way to buy an entire look quickly and easily.
“We know that many customers shop for their dorm rooms or apartments in the summer months, and we also know that many of them tend to buy certain items together,” Soohoo said. “For the first time, we’re making it possible to add a group of items to a cart to buy a complete look. Initially, we’ll have five curated collections, with each room featuring up to 20 of the most sought-after items college students search for and purchase. As someone who is obsessed with good design, I would have loved to have such a stylish living space when I was in school.”
The technology comes after Walmart.com relaunched in February the home area of the web site. The reimagined fashion portion of the site bowed in May, featuring sophisticated graphics and photography that showcases “real-life moments,” an expanded color palette and fonts that added vibrancy and depth to the site. Like the home upgrades, it’s all meant to create a more upscale environment resembling a specialty store experience as the Bentonville, Ark.-based retailer moves beyond low-priced apparel.
Walmart.com, like other retailers, sees Amazon’s moves in the fashion space. Last week, Amazon announced a new fashion platform, Prime Wardrobe, which is similar to other wardrobe subscription services such as Trunk Club and includes brands other than Amazon’s private labels, for example Adidas, Calvin Klein, Levi’s and Hugo Boss.
Delivery is seen as a critical issue as the two retail giants battle one another. At Walmart’s annual shareholders meeting last month, Marc Lore, president and chief executive officer of Walmart U.S. e-commerce, said, “We’ve started to roll out same-day delivery from brick-and-mortar stores. So, 100,000 products are now available for same-day delivery at some stores. Our goal is to get all the first-party sku’s to stores so we’re able to reach customers in one or two days.”
Besides the new same-day competency from Walmart store, Lore said, “We’re currently extending the number of sku’s that we offer for free two-day delivery every day. We continue to aggressively bring more sku’s to the warehouses. All the first party product is in our warehouses, so we can get two-day delivery via ground in a single box. We also think there’s a big opportunity to leverage the 4,700 stores to do same-day delivery.”
That’s something Amazon won’t be able to do any time soon. However, the Seattle-based online and digital behemoth on Thursday said it’s launching a new initiative to help individuals with little or no logistics experience build their own delivery companies. Amazon will offer technology and operational support and take an active role in helping interested parties set up delivery businesses. Successful owners could earn as much as $300,000 a year in profit operating a fleet of as many as 40 vehicles. Amazon is committing $1 million towards funding startup costs for military veterans, offering $10,000 reimbursements to qualified candidates.
Also looking for new ways to deliver orders to consumers more quickly and less expensively, Walmart offered associates the option of earning extra money for delivering packages to clients along their routes home after work.
“Since launching the new home experience back in February, we’ve been hearing great feedback from customers commenting on our stylish home decor at affordable prices,” Soohoo said. That means the new editorial imagery and the way we’ve curated the assortment is working. With the addition of the 3-D virtual shopping tour and Buy the Room, browsing and shopping for your home will be even easier.”