Walmart is adding two new tools to its growing digital playbook.
First up: a virtual shopping tour on its website that allows online customers to navigate room by room through a well-appointed apartment.
There, visitors will find dozens of household items highlighted with yellow circles; hover a curser over one and a product description pops up, along with a link for purchasing. Visitors can also opt to tour the apartment in VR.
So far the assortment is limited to about 70 national and private-label branded home goods, with tech and appliances minimally represented by a TV stand, a USB lamp and a hand vac.
Next up: Shopping by online room vignette, which will allow customers to order clusters of coordinated products to decorate on the fly. The five-collection offering, which launches in July, will initially focus on dorm rooms and small living spaces for the back-to-school season.
Each room will feature up to 20 of the most in-demand products for college students, and while specific sale items weren’t disclosed, a microwave oven, mini-fridge and laptop figure in the room renderings.
Anthony Soohoo, Walmart’s senior VP/home group general manager for U.S. e-commerce, said the online vignettes won’t end with dorms.
“We know that they could have applications elsewhere and will continue to listen to customer feedback to determine how to implement them more broadly on the site,” he wrote in a corporate blog.
Both efforts build on Walmart’s new online approach to home décor, which provides inspirational “destination” pages that showcase select, tightly edited categories.
The new shopping tools are the latest in a wave of digital initiatives heralded by Marc Lore, the former Jet.com CEO and co-founder, who now runs Walmart’s U.S. e-commerce operations as president. Other recent additions include Jetblack, a shop-by-text concierge service; automated in-store pick-up towers; expanded same-day deliveries through Parcel; and an updated shopping app offering in-store maps, item locations and a streamlined returns process.
The efforts are aimed at attaining e-commerce parity with Amazon, Lore’s former competitor and employer. The stakes are especially high in CE, where Walmart trails Amazon, Best Buy and Apple in online sales.