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Virtual reality training to help Walmart customers on Black Friday

LAS VEGAS - Walmart employees will be using some cutting-edge technology for the Black Friday shopping rush.

8 News Now went behind the scenes to see how Walmart is using virtual reality to train its workers and help customers make their purchases faster.

People pack stores as the holidays approach, especially on Black Friday when trying to score a deal.

"There are times where it can be extremely chaotic," said Vincent Laubach, Walmart academy facilitator.

A memorable experience not only for shoppers but Walmart employees.

"I remember the first Black Friday that I had at Walmart in 2013," Laubach said. "It was extremely busy. I'd never seen that many people in my life in one building before."

Walmart is now using virtual reality training to help associates better understand the holiday rush.

"It's a different way of learning," said Tiffany Wilson, Walmart director of communications. "It's a way of learning through doing and not necessarily with a pen and paper and taking notes. It's engaging many of your senses, so you retain a lot more information."

Laubach teaches a class for associates. One video shows the high volume of customers by a register during Black Friday.

"I'll pause it, I ask them what's going on? I play, they watch, they listen," he said.

But another video offers "check out with me" virtual training.

"We have people that can walk around on the floor and instead of them having to wait in line, or wait in the self-check, they can be checked out just anywhere on the floor," Laubach said.

He explains that while the modular is playing real-life scenarios, it asks the trainee several questions as they're going through the process, and must to choose the right answer. 

"It helps associates develop a sense of almost control while they're in the module so that they can see 'Oh this is what I'm supposed to be doing,'" Laubach said.

It gives solutions on how to interact and offer customers another way to pay for items which helps alleviate long lines at registers and gets people out the door quickly on the busy shopping day. Walmart started VR training two years ago.

Roughly 1,400 Walmart associates have completed "check out with me"  training in the Las Vegas valley.


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