Friday, 24 May, 2019

Walmart Buys 17K Oculus Go Headsets to Train Employees

Walmart will get more than 17,000 Oculus Go headsets in stores for training.                  Facebook Walmart will get more than 17,000 Oculus Go headsets in stores for training. Facebook
Cecil Davis | 23 September, 2018, 05:43

The pilot test held during this summer, Walmart used Rift headsets to train the associates on how to operate the company's new & high-tech Pickup Towers.

Walmart has been using VR to train employees in its Walmart Academies, which are centers in some stores that offer regional managers the chance to learn more advanced retail skills, since 2017.

By the numbers: Next month, the company will begin sending four headsets to every Walmart supercenter and two units to every Neighborhood Market and discount store in the US. A very interesting tidbit is that Trainor reports that when employees watch others using the VR headset for training, their retention is boosted even when not using the headset.

Walmart plans to send Oculus Go virtual reality headsets to nearly all of its 5000 stores, staying true to the promise of expanding its VR-based employee training system it had announced previous year. The training includes more than 45 activity-based modules using software from a firm called STRIVR. The big box retailer first experimented with VR in its training academies a year ago and now says the program has proved its worth, with employees reporting boosts to confidence and technology familiarity after training on the headsets.

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One of the training modules used in ten stores involved workers using the headsets to train on new Pickup Tower units that will be in those stores. VR is allowing associates to be trained before the towers are even installed - no teachers required. "And I could train any time that I wanted and it was done in just a few minutes".

Instilling confidence is exactly what makes VR so effective as a training tool. Associates have the ability to make mistakes in VR as they would in real life and learn from those errors without any consequences.

Trainor worked with Senior Director of Digital Operations Brock McKeel to bring the VR training to associates. "That person walks out of their store with new skills and more confidence than they had before - that's the passion behind this project".