Walmart, the largest supermarket chain in the US, offers customers to use augmented reality to compare the products they want to buy.
This feature is now only available for iOS (application versions 18.20 and ARKit-compatible devices running on at least iOS 11.3). To use this option, the customer needs to click on the 3D cube icon by pointing the scanner at the barcode. After that, a blue dot will appear on the screen, and the application will issue a card with the name of the product and its characteristics: price, rating and reviews. When scanning additional products, customers will be able to point the camera on products that have already been scanned before. In such a way, it will be possible to get information about them again, as well as to compare the price and characteristics of several products.
“Visitors to Walmart stores love to use our mobile barcode scanning application to check and compare prices. However, our team believes that the potential of this application is much greater. When customers run a scanner, the camera and screen create a direct connection between the digital and physical worlds for them, ” states Tim Fields, senior engineer manager at Walmart Labs, in a blog post.
In last spring, Walmart hosted its internal hackaton, where the idea of creating this option came up. Fields, along with the developers, used some features of ARKit to improve the barcode scanner. During the optimization of the scanner's functionality, the team ensured that the scanning process became more convenient and easier for the user.
“This is all the magic of augmented reality. This is an incredibly powerful communication tool. It enhances the attractiveness of real-world properties. It is very easy to learn and people can do it instinctively, ” Tim Fields says.