While many retailers have introduced attempts before purchase in their apps, Walmart has gone in another direction by bringing shoppers an expanded reality tool to help them compare the products they want to buy.
Available exclusively for iOS (app versions 18.20 and ARKit compliant devices running at least iOS 11.3), buyers can access the new tool through the existing barcode reader by touching the 3D cube icon.
images When users scan barcodes an app app an blue point on the camera shot and then pull up a card with product name and price, as well as ratings and number of reviews. Because customers scan additional items, they can point the camera back to previously scanned items to see product information again so they can quickly and easily compare the price and quality of multiple options.
"Walmart shopkeepers love using our mobile barcode scanner as a pricecare. Our team sees the potential of this product as much more. When a customer launches the scanner, they get a direct link between the digital and physical world like their screen and camera lens creates for them, "said Tim Fields, senior engineer at Walmart Labs, in a blog post.
"It's the magically enhanced reality. Making the real world more valuable is an incredibly powerful communication medium because people instinctively just" get it. "There is very little learning curve."
The function was born through an internal Walmart hackathon Last spring, Fields and his team applied lessons from their explorations with ARKit, landing on the idea to improve barcode scanning because of the usage rate and reliability as a feature in the app.
"After several ideation sessions we gravitated to a idea that we thought could solve three customer problems we failed to solve now: How can we make scanning experience not only load products faster but also feel faster? What would happen if we made it easy to compare products with more than just price? we make scanning more fun, customers will be more likely to use it, "said Fields.
Until recently, retailers have focused on selling products in AR based mostly on qualitative aspects, such as how furniture looks in the user's space, or if a shade of lipstick shines green in the eyes of the user.
Now, with Walmart's opda app, like Amazon's Visual Search Partnership with Snapchat and Google Lens, which uses data search to search the physical world, retailers and technology companies begin to expand how AR can make shopping easier for customers by providing them with manageable data from the real world beyond virtual objects.
These are all tantalizing stepping stones to even more trade-oriented AR cases. Nevertheless, these types of experience will not explode until we get smaller, lighter, smart consumer quality glasses. Until now, apps as such are welcome in the future.
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