Walmart is set to expand its fledgling VR training program in a big way soon; the big box store is going to start a country-wide training program promising to bring over 17,000 Oculus Go headsets to its employees by the year’s end.

The company is sending four headsets to every Walmart Supercenter, and two to every Neighborhood Market and Discount Store. Walmart says in a blogpost that “every associate – including those on the floor who interact with customers the most – will have access to the same training that their managers and department managers do at the Academies.”

Oculus Go is Oculus’ recently released $200 standalone VR headset. Because it doesn’t require a smartphone or other computing device to run, it’s decidedly a good fit for a massive VR training program like Walmart’s.

A pilot test conducted this summer saw 10 stores outfitted with a VR training program on how to operate Walmart Pickup Towers, the company’s latest innovation that lets you pick up your online orders directly from the store through a vending machine-style kiosk.

To boot, Walmart has already developed more than 45 activity-based learning modules using software provided by STRIVR, the same company that creates VR training software for the NBA, NFL and NHL. The company plans to use the Oculus Go headsets to train employees in three main areas: new technology, “soft skills” like empathy and customer service, and compliance.

Walmart Focuses On Future of VR/AR at New Silicon Valley Tech Incubator

“We are entering a new era of learning, and Walmart continues to lead the way,” said Derek Belch, CEO of STRIVR, which worked with Walmart on its initial launch of VR in Academies last year. “The power of VR is real, and when offered as a cornerstone of learning and development, it can truly transform the way an organization trains its people.”

The program is said to kick off next month, and presumably will become a part of both new employee training and cross-training of existing employees in new tech such as the company’s Pickup Towers.

“The great thing about VR is its ability to make learning experiential,” said Andy Trainor, Walmart’s senior director of Walmart U.S. Academies. “When you watch a module through the headset, your brain feels like you actually experienced a situation. We’ve also seen that VR training boosts confidence and retention while improving test scores 10 to 15 percent – even those associates who simply watched others experience the training saw the same retention boosts.”

This article may contain affiliate links. If you click an affiliate link and buy a product we may receive a small commission which helps support the publication. See here for more information.

Well before the first modern XR products hit the market, Scott recognized the potential of the technology and set out to understand and document its growth. He has been professionally reporting on the space for nearly a decade as Editor at Road to VR, authoring more than 3,500 articles on the topic. Scott brings that seasoned insight to his reporting from major industry events across the globe.
  • gothicvillas

    Oculus Go is a poor man’s VR. What training you can do with it..

    • Bryan Ischo

      Pretty sure that Walmart knows the answer to that question better than you do.

    • Joshwa Sanders

      Oculus GO is a great gateway drug to VR. It’s surprisingly useful on flights and watching Netflix or Plex or streaming your Steam games in bed.

      Also, the image is remarkably crisp. Don’t knock it til you’ve tried it.

      • jj

        Agreed, I own every headset and i still occasional use the go for relaxing things and truly enjoy its simplicity and crispness also. Coworkers going to tech events have also used theirs on airplanes and now bring a go any time they fly!

      • gothicvillas

        I have no doubt, it is great for video viewing.

      • david vincent

        Yes but what training you can do with it… without decent controllers.
        That was the implied question.

  • Tyler Soward

    Hopefully this training will be available on Steam soon. All the fun of working at Walmart without the minimum wage!

    • Get Schwifty!

      IKR – who needs Job Simulator!

      • Tyler Soward

        Job Simulator 2 – People of Walmart

  • Alan Harrington

    And ironically you can’t buy one in a store…

  • Jequan

    The video shows holding 2 Touch controls but the typical chubby WalMart employee is using an Oculus Go which only has 1 controller. What in god’s green earth can you teach community college dropouts with this device?