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Walmart's tech incubator buys a VR startup

Store No.

If Walmart hadn't already made it clear that it's looking for ways to transform how people shop, consider its latest acquisition.

The big box giant's technology incubator, Store No. 8, has purchased a virtual reality (VR) startup called Spatialand. Together, the companies will build VR products for Walmart's brick-and-mortar locations as well as online.

In a blog post on the Store No. 8 website, principal Katie Finnegan said the majority of VR technology had been created for and focused on content for gaming and entertainment, "ignoring the range of possibilities available in retail."

"At our core, we are merchandisers and storytellers which drives us to believe that virtual reality has the potential to reinvent the consumer experience—with an experience we call contextual commerce," she said.

Last year Walmart made multiple moves on the tech front. In September it began testing a service that lets a delivery person walk into a customer's home when they're not there to drop off packages or put groceries in the fridge. It also piloted  a self-serve grocery pickup kiosk in the parking lot of a supercenter in Oklahoma City.

And, earlier in 2017, it announced a partnership with Google on voice-activated shopping.


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