Wal-Mart’s Store No. 8 Ramps up Virtual Reality Efforts as It Acquires Startup

Wal-Mart Stores Inc (NYSE:WMT) Store Number 8 has acquired a virtual reality startup, Spatialand, as it steps up its initiatives in the virtual reality space. Per reports the startup develops software tools which are used in helping creators change existing content into virtual reality immersive experiences. Spatialand will now be absorbed by the technology incubator of Walmart, Store No. 8. The founder of Spatialand, Kimberly Cooper, plus around 10 members of staff will also join the big box retailer.

According to Store No. 8’s principal, Katie Finnegan, the VR startup is the third portfolio company of the technology incubator with the co-founders working as a team. The startup will continue to work on developing and exploring new products as well as new uses of virtual reality via immersive retail environments and which have the potential of being incorporated in both online and offline shopping at Walmart.

Digital restocking

Per Bill Bishop, the chief architect of consulting firm Brick Meets Click, some of the new uses could include the buying and stocking the inventory digitally leading to substantial savings.

“… the cost leverage of only having to invest in the digital images and not the product itself, and because you only have to move them around with a mouse and not have the store labor do it, the upside is very significant,” said Bishop.

Cooper who has been nominated for an Emmy award over her expertise in employing virtual reality, augmented reality and mixed reality techniques in storytelling has worked on films such as Prometheus, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story and Iron Man. She has also worked on video game franchises such as Metal Gear Solid and Destiny.

Lower prices. Walmart’s acquisition of Spatialand comes in the wake of a LendEDU survey indicating that prices of common goods are lower at Walmart than on Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN) Amazon.com, Inc. except with regards to food. Prices of approximately 50 products across five categories were compared and this ranged from toothpaste to television sets to toaster ovens and paper towels.

The survey revealed that with most of these items prices at Walmart were on average around 34% cheaper compared to the prices on Amazon. LendEDU is a student loan refinancing online marketplace.

On Tuesday shares of Walmart rose by 0.81% to close the day at $100.90.