The ways in which we choose to shop are expanding. It used to be the case we traveled to a store and bought things, then the Internet came along and we started buying online. The latest way to shop is using your voice and a smart speaker such as Echo or Google Home , but what comes next? The most likely candidates are augmented reality and virtual reality, and Walmart just decided to back VR.
As Recode reports, Walmart has acquired the virtual reality startup Spatialand. Very little is known about Spatialand beyond the fact it specializes in making software tools that allow content to be turned into VR experiences. Clearly, Walmart wants that expertise working to transform its retail experience for viewing in a virtual world.
Walmart has worked with Spatialand before. Last year the company was involved with Walmart's Store No. 8 innovation hub on a project. Whatever it was must have impressed Walmart to entice an acquisition. But what exactly are Spatialand's founder Kim Cooper and 10 employees going to be working on?
As you'd expect, Walmart isn't saying. However, Katie Finnegan, who oversees Store No. 8, has stated the retail experiences being worked on won't be seen for at least five years and possibly not for another decade. So while VR shopping may seem like a strange choice right now due to the costs of headsets and supporting hardware, by 2028 it could be as cheap and readily available as smartphones are today.
The good news is, we won't have to wait until the next decade to find out what Spatialand is working on, Finnegan also said we should expect a reveal in 12-18 months.