For many retailers virtual reality still seems like a toy, a nice thing to have but with very little business value. Walmart however has put the still emerging technology to use in its training academies to help onboard managers and associates and give them some “hands-on” experience in a lab setting.
Walmart has been piloting a solution from STRIVR Labs at a limited number of its training academies for the past few months, and based off of the success of the test will be rolling out the solution to all 200 of its training facilities by the end of 2017.
“Imagine you’re a new Walmart store manager and you’ve never experienced a Black Friday,” Beth Harris wrote on Walmart’s blog. “Wouldn’t it be helpful to understand the dynamics of such a busy day before you ever had to actually manage your associates and customers through it?
“We incorporated VR into 30 academies and we used it to train our associates to handle situations from the everyday, like managing the fresh area, to the rare, like Black Friday.”
New associates, recently promoted associates and managers all attend Walmart’s Academy program. It is estimated that about 140,000 employees per year will utilize the VR headsets for training.
“From our test, we’ve seen that associates who go through VR training retain what they’ve learned in those situations better than those who haven’t,” Harris wrote.
For more information on how Walmart is leveraging VR to train associates watch the short Walmart-produced video above.