Walmart Inc. will debut a new feature next month that will let customers "try on" a selection of eyeglass frames and buy prescription eyewear through Walmart.com or the retailer's app.
Virtual try-on of frames and ordering of eyeglasses isn't new, with companies such as Warby Parker and EyeBuyDirect having offered these services for years. But Walmart said on Friday that unlike those companies, it's using 3D data and advanced algorithms to create a "digital twin" of the frames for a more realistic try-on experience.
The Bentonville-based retailer will make more than 750 frames available for virtual try-on. These will be noted with a "Try them on" flag on the main product page. When customers click on the flag and allow a facial scan, they can see the frames on themselves as if looking in a mirror.
Walmart said customers can also upload their valid lens prescription and then add the glasses to their online shopping cart.
Opticians in Walmart's Vision Centers will be available to answer customers' questions throughout the ordering process. Once the glasses arrive, customers can take them to their local Walmart Vision Center for help with any needed "finishing touches," the company said.
Over the past year, Walmart said, it has been expanding its assortment of frames, and now offers more than 1,000 at less than $150. And by the end of this year, Walmart plans to have more than 3,000 vision centers nationwide.
The company started offering new certification and licensure programs for its opticians last year, and raised pay for more than 4,000.