Walmart kicks off back-to-school season with 3D online shopping

By Deena M. Amato-McCoy for Chain Store Age

Walmart is enhancing its new website with two new services that will streamline how customers browse and make purchases across its home furnishings offering. On Thursday, the discount giant will begin testing its 3D virtual shopping tour, a service that enables customers to virtually browse a curated apartment. The service features nearly 70 items from both national brands and Walmart’s private label offerings.

Walmart will also enable customers to buy a completely decorated room. In July, the discounter is launching “Buy a Room,” a service that will allow customers to add a group of items to their online shopping cart, and buy a complete look.

Initially, the service will highlight dorm living, and feature five curated collections. Each room will feature up to 20 of the most popular items college students need to outfit their living space.

“While we are launching these new features for dorm rooms and small space living, 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,” said Anthony Soohoo, senior VP and group general manager, home, U.S. e-commerce, Walmart.

For example, Walmart plans to continue build out its home assortment, and plans to add a new coastal style, he added.

The new solutions are an extension of Walmart’s new digital home furnishings shopping experience. This is one of many elements featured on Walmart’s redesigned website, which was introduced in February.

Walmart’s new dorm room shopping experience comes on the heels of Amazon’s own push for the upcoming back-to school shopping season. On Wednesday, the online giant launched its redesigned “Back to School” and new “Off to College” stores, two concepts that feature low-priced classroom supplies and dorm room essentials. Both online sections feature a curated selection of merchandise, and streamlined searches to locate items.

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