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Walmart cuts training time by 96% with immersive learning

With plans to rollout new equipment to all 4,700+ retail store locations, Walmart was in search of a quick, efficient, and cost-effective way to train over 2.2 million retail associates on how to properly setup, operate, and troubleshoot the new technology without disrupting day-to-day business operations.

96%
reduction in training time, from 8 hours to 15 minutes
30%
increase in employee satisfaction scores
12.5%
improvement in post-training assessment scores (on average)

The challenge

Immersive learning allows us to recreate those situations that we can’t or don’t want to recreate at the store with customers present. Associates go through training in a real, life-like environment so they can learn from it and feel the experience of it.
Andy Trainor
Vice President of US Learning, Walmart

When Walmart approached Strivr, the company was in the early stages of rolling out new in-store Pickup Towers to improve the pickup experience for customers who placed orders online.

While the new Pickup Towers were certainly streamlining the customer pickup experience, teaching in-store retail associates how to operate, maintain, and troubleshoot the new technology was a painstaking, 8-hour-long process consisting of on-site, instructor-led group training sessions of eLearning, hands-on training, and launch kit training. This approach to training was not only costly in terms of the travel and personnel costs required to sustain it, but also disruptive to store operations and productivity.

With plans to introduce PickupTowers to all 4,700+ Walmart locations and over 2.2 million retail associates to train, Walmart approached Strivr in search of a more efficient, cost-effective, and scaleable training methodology that would allow employees to gain the hands-on experience with the new technology without taking extra time away from their day jobs to attend training sessions.

The solution

As the nature of work continues to change, we’re innovating to empower associates to better serve customers as they develop new skills, thriving in their jobs and growing their careers.
Doug McMillon
CEO, Walmart

In order to provide learners with the most realistic, hands-on training experience possible, Strivr’s team of immersive content specialists worked with Walmart to create a live action Pickup Tower course in VR.

Production took place at a Walmart location that already had the new Pickup Towers installed. To avoid further disruptions to store operations, filming took place outside of business hours using 360 video cameras, mics, and actors to deliver life-like visuals and sounds in an authentic VR environment.

During the VR experience, learners were placed directly on the sales floor where they learned and practiced how to set up, manage, and troubleshoot the Pickup Tower as well as how to properly stock, load, and store fragile, age-restricted, and oversized items. Multiple choice quizzes were also embedded throughout the module to test learners’ proficiency and understanding of the material. Watch the video above for a glimpse into Walmart's Pickup Tower training course.

Course details

Target learners

Retail associates

XR content modality

Live action VR

XR use case(s)

  • Operational efficiency
  • Customer service

TRAINING duration

15 minutes

Learning objectives

  • Gain hands-on experience in setting up, operating, and stocking Pickup Towers.
  • Learn how to diagnose and troubleshoot technical and mechanical issues, including how to perform a system reboot and manual overwrite.
  • Learn and apply customer de-escalation strategies in the event of technical and mechanical issues interrupting the pickup experience.

The impact

Previously, we had to send three to four people to the store to train associates on how to set up the [Pickup Tower], how to maintain it, and how to interact with customers with it. Now we just send a pair of VR goggles.
Andy Trainor
Vice President of US Learning, Walmart

The Pickup Tower training VR course was a huge success on several fronts.

Reduced training time: By switching from in-person training to immersive learning, Walmart was able to reduce Pickup Tower training time by 96%, from 8 hours to just 15 minutes, without sacrificing training effectiveness or employee proficiency.

Increased training effectiveness: In fact, the 15-minute VR training course proved to be even more effective than the original training paradigm as associates who completed the training in VR outperformed non-VR learners on post-training skills assessments 70% of the time and achieved 10-15% higher scores.

Reduced training costs: By eliminating the need to send launch coaches to thousands of locations across the country to conduct in-person training, making the switch to VR helped Walmart save thousands of dollars in travel- and personnel-related training expenses.

Optimized operational efficiency: Because associates were able to complete Pickup Tower training in VR before the equipment was even installed in their store, VR training helped Walmart eliminate costly disruptions to in-store operations, saving the company hundreds of thousands of dollars in lost productivity.  

Further initiatives

Walmart’s new Pickup Tower VR training course was so successful that the company decided to continue their partnership with Strivr to address additional training areas. As of today, Strivr has created and deployed over 60 immersive experiences for Walmart, covering several critical skills and training topics such as:

  • Customer service: Empathy, Customer De-escalation, Holiday Rush
  • Operations: Distribution Center Processes, Checkout Procedures, Receipt Checking
  • Safety & emergency preparedness: Active Shooter Response, Tornado Warning
Strivr empowered
Walmart
to:
  • Deploy consistent training at scale to over 2.2 million frontline retail associates across 4,700 locations
  • Optimize operational efficiency by reducing Pickup Tower training time by 96%, from 8 hours to 15 minutes
  • Enhance employee engagement and learning retention with 70% of XR learners scoring higher in post-training skills assessments than non-XR learners

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