Walmart decides to double down on Virtual Reality associate training. The big retailer is deploying 17k Oculus Go headsets across the country for staff training purposes. Each of nearly 5, 000 locations is getting training headsets by the end of this year. It is estimated that over 1 million employees will go through Walmart VR training starting this fall.
The retailer heavyweight is another one in the line of corporate businesses embracing technology for more effective employee training. Mercedes-Benz did it recently, albeit on a scale barely comparable to this. Walmart is sending 4 Oculus Go eyewears to every SuperCenter, and two to each discount stores and Neighborhood Markets. The idea is that each of a million employees receive the latest technology training, and brush up on skills like customer service. This is Walmart corporate VR training reaping the success of the last year’s Black Friday simulation.
The VR training reaches out to those employees in contact with the buyers the most. That is one area where Walmart is adamant to improve on. ‘When you watch a module through the headset, your brain feels like you actually experienced a situation’, Walmart Senior Director of U.S. Academies Andy Trainor explains. He added that there is a considerable increase in confidence and knowledge retention using VR training over traditional methods. Even with those who watched the sessions rather than going through. The training itself consists of repeatable content that employees can scale later on. There is little doubt of its workplace efficiency. The training is expected to start in early October.
The headset of choice for Walmart VR training is the affordable Oculus Go that goes at $199 apiece. The software will be the well-known STRIVR whom Walmart uses as an essential ingredient to their executive and managerial training. To test the waters, the two companies agreed on a pilot mock training session. It included getting associates familiar with the new online order option called Pickup Tower, existing only in VR as of yet.
Though Walmart and their customers will be the main beneficiaries of VR associate training, STRIVR isn’t without agenda here. For STRIVR, this is a momentous opportunity to showcase just how better their VR solution is to the more traditional training options. To start, VR training can be successfully deployed at all levels of corporate operations. It is also unparalleled in monitoring who is underdoing training and to what effect. Finally, virtual training goes meta in that it makes it easy to analyze common practices, mistakes or otherwise, that happen during sessions. Having the pool of 1 million Walmart associates, STRIVR has every reason to look forward to this fall.
Virtual Reality is booming and Walmart is among the first to embrace it on a scale comparable to its ambition. Walmart VR shopping is on the horizon and associate VR training has never really approached the Walmart numbers. But numbers nonetheless, if there remains any doubt of training effectiveness or productivity, we can simply ask a local Walmart associate.