Will consumers prefer a virtual reality department store to the real thing?
Here’s the (virtual) reality of shopping in Australia: If you have a smartphone that fits inside a VR headset, you can go shopping in the world’s very first virtual reality department store.
According to reports, eBay and Myer, the Australian chain, have debuted an app that will put consumers in a shopping environment where they can buy stuff. EBay sees this first run as just the beginning of an exciting new retail channel that it hopes to exploit.
To spur adoption, eBay and Myer are distributing up to 20,000 free cardboard viewers called shopticals.
The experience is supposed to enable customers to immerse themselves in a shopping trip to a Myer store. Shoppers can browse over 12,000 products, with product information updated in real time. Instead of using a hand controllers, customers can use eBay’s Sight Search which allows them to train their eyes on items to make selections.
“It’s been important to us that we don’t just replicate the ecommerce experience in a virtual environment,” said Jooman Park, managing director eBay Australia and New Zealand, in a statement. “We are taking the best elements of traditional retail and expanding on them to improve browsing, selection, personalization and efficiency.”
- eBay Australia Helps Launch the World’s First Virtual Reality Department Store – eBay
- eBay and Myer launch world-first virtual reality department store – The Australian Financial Review
- eBay is betting shoppers will embrace virtual reality as much as gamers – Mashable
- Myer and eBay launch world first virtual reality department store – news.com.au
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: Do you think large numbers of consumers will prefer shopping in a virtual reality department store rather than the real thing? Will they prefer VR to shopping on a modern e-commerce site?