US retail giant Walmart has acquired virtual reality (VR) platform and content studio, Spatialand, through its Store No 8 retail technology incubator.
In a blog post published earlier this week, Store No 8 principal Katie Finnegan said the move will create the foundation of the incubator’s third portfolio company.
Under the terms of the deal, Finnegan will act as interim-CEO, working together with Spatialand founder Kim Cooper, and VR strategy and product advisor Jeremy Welt.
The team will develop and explore new products and uses of VR through immersive retail environments that can be incorporated by all facets of Walmart, online and offline.
“VR is an industry buzzword right now,” writes Finnegan. “And the majority of the technology that has been created in this space has been focused on the development of hardware and content for spaces such as 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.”
Walmart has been on something of an acquisition drive in recent months, beefing up its e-commerce strategy with the most recent acquisition of Parcel, a technology-based, same-day and last-mile delivery company based in New York.
While the acquisition price was not disclosed, Walmart said it was smaller than previous acquisitions made last year. These include women’s online fashion and accessory retailer ModCloth in March, and online outdoor apparel and gear retailer Moosejaw in February. The deals followed a US$3bn cash deal to acquire e-commerce start-up Jet.com in 2016.