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The Washington Post has a piece about how Walmart is focused on virtual reality as the next big thing.

Here’s how the Post frames the story:

“Imagine this, says Katie Finnegan, who heads Walmart’s tech incubator: You need a tent for your next camping trip. If all goes to plan, you could one day virtually swoop in to your campsite and see any given tent in action. ‘You could unzip it, lay down, look left and right and say, ‘Oh, this is supposed to be a two-person tent? It’s kind of tight,’ she said.

“And then you could move on to the next tent — without leaving your couch.

“‘There is a lot of technology we’re excited about,’ Finnegan said, ‘but virtual reality in particular offers an opportunity to actually experience products and items in an immersive way’.”

Among the examples cited by the story:

• “An ‘interactive virtual store’ for designer Rebecca Minkoff, whose items are sold at, would allow customers to sit in on fashion shows and shop directly from the runway. The technology, the company said, would effectively allow it to create a virtual store-within-a-store.”

• “Tired of shopping online alone? If Walmart gets its way, you may soon be interacting with other shoppers and experts as you pick out items for your virtual cart. Need help picking a pair of jeans? A virtual fashion assistant may be able to help. Trying to figure out why your nightstand is lopsided? An employee could tell you which screws are loose.”

The Post writes that “the technology has yet to catch on with the mainstream, so such concepts are still in the gee-whiz stage with no guarantee of boosting sales.” But Walmart clearly thinks it is just a matter of time…
KC's View:
Walmart inevitably will test a lot of this stuff using the non-core brands that it recently has acquired, like Moosejaw and Bonobos. But it’ll be interesting to see how quickly it’ll be integrated into the company’s core brand offering.