From concept to reality: The journey of Shop with Friends

Staff writer

Jan. 29, 2024 | 3 min read

Customers increasingly expect retailers to provide intuitive and personalized shopping journeys that seamlessly integrate online and offline experiences. Using and deploying augmented reality (AR) to merge the digital and physical worlds is just one way we can bring adaptive retail to life for our customers.

Solutions leveraging tech such as View in Your Home and Virtual Try-on solutions Choose My Model and Be Your Own Model, help customers better visualize how items look in their everyday lives so they can purchase with confidence, from the convience of their homes. But why stop there?

This is a gif displaying various technologies. First ‘View at home’, second ‘Be your own model’ and third ‘Choose my model’

The next iteration of digital shopping 

Opportunities to further enhance our customers’ journeys, and shorten the paths between inspiration, discovery and fulfillment are unfolding as new technologies have emerged. 

How users search, shop and connect with one another is drastically changing. Flexibility and convenience are essential, and the ability to easily share discoveries is paramount. It’s no surprise smartphones have become the preferred device for browsing online, making the closest store the one in customers’ pockets. More customers are also sharing items and considering the opinions of their friends and family before making purchases. While social shopping is not new, e-commerce has been slow to implement it. Online social shopping experiences have not been as easily navigable as shopping with others in person.

Although smartphones have made online shopping more accessible, the process for sharing items and soliciting feedback from friends and family still hasn’t changed much over the years. Yes, messaging options auto populate social media apps, contacts or chat groups with a single click of a share button. However, anyone with friends across multiple operating systems or a family of rapid responders understands the challenge of communicating their vision for an outfit as a jumble of messages and reactions flood in before the next links are shared.

Integrating e-commerce with social shopping can solve unique challenges like this.

Bridging the gap: Sharing online finds with friends

Enter, Shop with Friends, a beta feature we developed to make social shopping a little easier. Shop with Friends enhances the shopping journey, making it simple for customers to connect with their trusted groups, so they can spend less time worrying about how outfit combinations look and eliminates the frustration of trying to parse through a group chat for perspectives.


There are several novel approaches behind Shop with Friends’ development that allowed teams to develop the tool in a matter of months:

  • Firstly, it leverages existing tech stacks, including Walmart Commerce Platform as its foundation, and our commerce APIs, to deliver a seamless shopping journey from start to finish
  • It uses the same AR and artificial intelligence algorithms and machine learning models as Choose My Model and Be Your Own Model for determining how fabrics drape, item lengths based on height, and how different sizes look
  • Its web-based framework ensures customers’ virtual fitting rooms are shareable across messaging and social applications
  • The tool was designed to scale and can handle thousands of item permutations, ensuring customers are presented with a wide range of options that match their preferences
  • Anyone can use Shop with Friends, regardless of whether they have a Walmart account or not

What’s next

Shop with Friends is only the beginning. We have big plans for this tool and envision a number of exciting features that will make shopping experiences even more engaging and satisfying.