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06/29/2022

Walmart acquires virtual optical try-on tech provider

Dan Berthiaume
Senior Editor, Technology
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Walmart will offer AR-based virtual eyewear try-on services.

Walmart continues its augmented reality (AR) push with a significant investment.

The discount giant has entered into an agreement to acquire Memomi, an AR optical technology company. Memomi provides technology to enhance virtual optical try-on experiences, helping customers virtually “try on” eyewear in real-time.

Since 2019, Memomi has enabled digital measurements for all Walmart and Sam’s Optical customers, across more than 2,800 Walmart vision centers and 550 Sam’s Club stores. The optical e-commerce experience on SamsClub.com is also supported by Memomi technology.

Acquiring Memomi is the next step in Walmart’s ongoing strategy to provide lifelike virtual shopping experiences with AR technology. In March 2022, the discounter rolled out the Zeekit virtual fitting room solution to select users of the Walmart app and Walmart.com. Walmart purchased Zeekit, a female-founded, Israeli-based virtual fitting room start-up, in May 2021. The Zeekit platform uses augmented reality to allow shoppers to virtually try on clothes.

Zeekit leverages real-time image processing to map a person’s image into thousands of segments. Clothing is processed in a similar manner and the equivalent points of the two are mapped into one final simulation. To use Zeekit, the customers uploads their picture or choose from a series of models that best represent their height, shape and skin tone to instantly see themselves in any item of clothing. Customers can also share their virtual outfits with friends for a second opinion, enabling a social shopping experience.

[Read more: Walmart unveils virtual fitting rooms]

And earlier this month, Walmart began rolling out an AR-enabled capability on its iOS app that will be available to all customers by early July. The new feature enables shoppers to view furniture and home décor items in their personal spaces with a few swipes on their phones. It will initially be available for 300 furniture and home décor items, with plans to expand to back-to-college items over the coming months.

Walmart is also developing a new AR-based in-store feature that will allow customers and associates to point their mobile device camera at store shelves via the Walmart app to filter the assortment based on their personal preferences. 

“Customers are looking for access to care digitally, in their homes, and purchasing eyeglasses is no different,” said David Reitnauer, VP, specialty services, Walmart Health & Wellness. “This acquisition supports our health and wellness mission to provide accessible care to the communities we serve.”

“We’re excited to welcome the Memomi team to Walmart and add their capabilities to our leading virtual reality technology that is transforming the retail experience for our customers and members,” said Cheryl Ainoa, senior VP, New Businesses & Emerging Tech, Walmart Global Tech.

“Walmart’s ability to roll out our virtual try-on and contact-free digital measurements service in a short period of time shows how committed Walmart is to its customers’ need for digital care in-stores and at home,” said Ofer Saban, CTO, Memomi.

“We are looking forward to joining Walmart and offering our innovations and user experiences to such a large scale both in-store and online,” said Salvador Nissi Vilcovsky, CEO, Memomi.

The acquisition is expected to close in the coming weeks, and Memomi employees will join the Walmart Global Tech organization.

Based in Bentonville, Ark., Walmart Inc. operates more than 10,500 stores and clubs under 46 banners in 24 countries and e-commerce websites.