"AR (Augmented Reality) experience for Walmart's in-store toy shopping journey that uses gamification and behavioural nudges to influence the customer's experience."
My Role: Design Intern

I led the process of ideating and defining the project scope, product strategy, and design process and finalizing the interaction design using rapid prototypes.


Interaction design, Usability testing, Game Design, User Research & ideation, wireframes and prototyping

Timeline: 5 months

Software: 3ds max, Unity 3D, Adobe Photoshop, Premier pro

Mentored by: Dinoop Dayanand


Design the future of the shopping experience for Walmart customers. Though Walmart labs gave the initial direction of the Project, this Project is a Partially Blue sky approach because of Walmart's diverse domain in the shopping experience.


The motivation behind this design project was to think of a new customer experience at Walmart for the younger generation about 5-10 years later in the future


Understanding and identifying the scope for designing experiences for future shopping customers with the help of a user-centric design method. Which eventually should align with the business model of Walmart.


Presented final prototype and recommended design features with senior leadership members and stakeholders across the globe within the organization.

What is it?

It is An Augmented reality-based experience to enhance Walmart's toy shopping experience. Customers can experience a product and its functionality in-store irrespective of its shape, size and price. This AR experience was designed using gamification, game design and user-centric design techniques to make the shopping space more than a shopping

Key Features
1: Actual Reality

Customers can experience the product in real life without unpacking it using the Augmented reality technology from their mobile devices. More than checking out the visual experience, customers can virtually check how the product works or functions.

2: Customization and information

Customers can customize the product feature, like the colour and model in the mobile application they desire to check and launch it using the AR feature to experience how it works in real life. Also, the information about the product is available upfront on the device.

3: Game Mode

Users can select between two available modes to check and experience the full potential of the toys, and also, in game mode, users can avail of rewards if they complete the game levels.

Timeline - 6 month from Vision to Launch

Intial Brief

"How might we design a solution for enhancing the in-store shopping experience of Walmart customers"
The Design Process

The Design Process used in this project to arrive at a design solution is a variation of the Double Diamond, originally created by the British Design Council.
The process involves discovering insights into a given problem through an exhaustive research, defining the right people and area to focus on, framing concise problem statements, designing potential solutions, and evaluating them to come up with the right solution to be prototyped, tested and built.


What we got here?

Design the future of the shopping experience for Walmart customers. Though Walmart labs gave the initial direction of the Project, this Project is a Partially Blue sky approach because of Walmart's diverse domain in the shopping experience.

Clearing the chaos- domain understanding

During the initial phase, the open-ended brief I tried to solve was complete chaos because of Walmart's diverse domain in the shopping sector. To solve this chaos and narrow down the problem area, I have undergone extensive desk research, which involves a literature study drawn from existing sources of information, which was then factored into behavioural patterns and user understanding. Data was taken from various places, including surveys, competitive analysis, magazines, newspapers and educational establishments.

Phase 1: Key findings on customer shopping journey

Planning before shopping will give clarity on purchase, which saves time and effort in store

75% of shoppers have used their mobile devices in a physical store.

Option to customize or to interact with the product to satisfy the customer needs more effectively and efficiently.

Whats our Potential Opportunity area?

With the initial finding, I have made concepts keeping Walmart domains and future technologies as an enabler to ideate. Later, an Idea validation UX method with leaders and professionals within the organization was used to identify the potential design direction. It helped me to prioritize the best ideas, Identify the best customer segment and uncover the market strategy for Walmart. As a result, the critical takeaway is that Toy shopping at Walmart needs refinement and a better shopping experience, which I only partially considered as face value to take as the final direction. With this narrowed-down scope, I deeply understand the potential of viewing the Toy section as a design space.

Why Toys? - Validation
Walmart Sale on Black Friday - 2018

As a result of Black Friday, the 2018 toy department made the highest revenue among other departments. And also, Walmart has announced that it's "America's best toy shop" in a bid to be thought of not only as America's giant Toy.

Fall Of Toys R us - 2018

Many of the changes Walmart is making to its toy section, which it calls its "America's best toys shop" initiative, are permanent and will last even after the holiday season. The bold move into toys is likely a result of Walmart seeing an opportunity after the bankruptcy and liquidation of Toys R Us.

Hot Wheels Sales 2017 -2018

In 2018 hot wheels sales alone, 43.5 % increased compared to the previous year. Walmart will be expanding its selection by 40% online. 30% of the toys it stores will be brand new. Walmart will also make room for more toys in stores; in some locations, it will even add more aisles to stock them.

Desk research - on Users and Technology

To develop user-centred design concepts, I have done intensive desk research on the Toy and Augmented reality domain to understand the competitors and their trends, user behaviour and priority during their toy shopping journey and how unique users' toy shopping journey is.

Phase 2 findings:

Impact of "Toys r Us" in the 2018 holiday sale

Last year, shoppers purchased toy gifts from Walmart, Target, and Amazon along with Toys "R" Us. In 2018, with TRU gone, many shoppers will increase their spending with the retailers they were already patronizing—namely, Walmart, Target, and Amazon.

Most popular sectors of AR retail

The data map clearly says that toys are one of the growing sectors of AR retail. And also, Walmart is making moves in toy departments in upcoming years. AR will help to give a newer experience for toy shoppers.

Different paths to purchase toys.

There are multiple paths to purchase toys, which range from a simple two-step process to a longer and more complex four-step process. The primary factor in determining the length and complexity of this path is the level of deliberation the parents require before buying. This need for consideration is wholly tied to the perceived hurdles or resistance that parent experiences for the given Toy or game.

Semi-structured interview and SME interviews

Semi-structured interview X 12

SME interview X 3

Objective - What am i looking for?
  • Interviewed different demographics to understand users' behaviour, experience, and top priority in toy shopping.
  • And using the data from primary research as empirical data to validate my desk research.
  • To derive insights from research data points.
  • Primary Research - Asking People...


    Affinity Mapping - Making sense of data

    The data from the interviews and desk research were synthesized to derive high-level insights to develop rationally futuristic concepts to enhance Walmarts in-store toy shopping experience.

    Giving meaning to the synthesized data

    By analyzing and synthesizing the data from desk research and user interviews, I derived the top five insights which focus on user core needs and wants while doing indoor shopping at Walmart. The insights were supported by empirical data from the research. These key insights are used to narrow down to design direction to ideate user-centered design concepts

    Key Insights

    The demo is directly proportional to the time taken for research
  • People demand that they could have purchased if the demo is available or if needed information is delivered correctly.
  • The demo of the toy will helps to understand more about the product, from the look and feel to the dimension.
  • The time parents do research is the time they take in the shop to purchase.
  • People prefer AR/VR experience compared to the everyday shopping experience.
  • 71% would shop at a retailer more often if AR were offered. (source from www.statista.com )
  • The product which require visual analysis to see the depth, dimension & relative space with the environment can be brought in AR.
  • If AR could minimize the time & effort, then they will try AR/V technology.
  • Parents' Priority matters when buying toys for their kids
  • Parents say they will give complete freedom to their kids to shop for and choose the Toy (s) they want within a price range.
  • Even though the price is at the top of the priority list, if the parents feel the Toy is excessively satisfying, they will buy it with
  • Constraints like age appropriateness, quality & functionality of the Toy.
  • Strong preference towards gender-specific toys
  • Although there are unisex toys, subconsciously, boys prefer strong & outdoor toys, and Girls like to sit & play with toys.
  • Boy kid preference - Nerf toys, Lego toys, hot wheels Etc
  • Girl kid preference- American girl dolls, Barbie dolls, Lego toys Etc.
  • Bigger openings ahead in retail for Augmented Reality
  • The current retail market for AR/VR is 500 million U.S. dollars. By 2025, it is predicted that the demand for augmented reality will be worth 1600 million U.S. dollars.
  • 40% Would be willing to pay more for a product if AR were part of the Shopping Experience
  • Redefined Brief

    "How might we enhance the Walmart in-store toy shopping experience by using Augmented Reality?"

    No more guesses on how the new piece of Toy will work. At least that's the idea behind the new AR Walmart App.; clear your guesses and confusion in the store by demoing it without unwrapping the Toy. Check out the specs and functionalities of the Toy in AR mode just by scanning the Toy by using Walmart AR App...

    Ideation and Downselection

    With the redefined brief, I have ideated around 45 ideas with the help of derived insights from the research and asked peers to vote top 10 ideas to create storyboarding for defining the user's roadmap while making an in-store toy shopping journey.


    The ideas voted fall under three main buckets, which are informative, experience and engagement—considering these three core aspects as principles for creating a final design idea which will satisfy the user's need.

    Usability Testing

    Observations & Walkthrough

    Conducted user testing with strangers in toy shops in India with a diverse set of people, which includes parents, kids and gift buyers. The feedback from the customers helps us to reflect on the design we made. The project timeline and viability were considered to act upon the feedback of the customer.

    What we learned

  • Not everyone's phone is AR compatible.
  • Another significant note is that we found the experience from the Mobile screen and Tablet screen had a huge experience difference for the first-time users. People preferred tablets over mobile phones.
  • The game mode is not user-friendly for parents or kids who are first time user.
  • Noticed, Users are expecting appreciation or rewards for their effort in game mode.
  • How we responded

  • In-House Tablet devices will be provided to the users to experience the toys in AR, where all three usability issues were addressed, like compatibility, memory space and a Bigger screen. And also it solves many other technical aspects like charging, initial setup, assistance Etc.
  • Enabling normal mode where customers can check out the feature and properties of the Toy in AR mode. It gives the feeling of control to the user
  • Introducing an Inhouse reward system in the game mode, where users can redeem the coupon if they purchase the product.
  • Reflection and retrospect

    1. In design its Ok, to start from the base again because its an iterative process

    With a background in game design, the design thinking approach was slightly different from a conventional UX design. During my initial days at Walmart, I used a traditional game design process to address a user-centric problem. The output of this process created ambiguity and uncertainty. But with industry experts as a mentor, I got the liberty to track back and start from the beginning, I also got time-to-time inputs from mentors to stay on track, and the organization also helped me extend my internship timeline.

    2. Back all the decisions with reasoning; it will be easier to sell your story.

    Though designers often work with a gut feeling on their journey, As emerging designers, we have to understand that industry experts go for a gut feeling. The approach is based on their previous experience in the related domain. As a young designer, it's always advised to back your design process with data that will help sell your stories better and others to make your concept believable.