For some time, small business owners have been pondering how virtual reality might change the way they serve customers. Now one of the world’s largest online retailers may be pointing the way.
Sure, shopping from a mobile gadget is already convenient enough, but eBay thinks the shopping experience can be improved further with the use of virtual reality.
Say hello to what the Internet-based retailer is calling the world’s first Virtual Reality Department Store. The store allows customers to browse through collections like home goods, clothes and electronics as though they were actually in the store. The new store is the product of a partnership with Australian retailer Myer and you can now catch a glimpse of the store by downloading the app.
eBay Virtual Reality Department Store
The Android and iOS eBay Virtual Reality Department Store app works with headsets like Google Cardboard or Samsung’s Gear.
To celebrate the launch of the eBay Virtual Reality Department Store, eBay and Myer are giving away 20,000 “shopticals” to shoppers, but if you don’t get to snag these for free, don’t worry as the headset only costs around $5.95.
The brand new VR store boasts more than 12,500 products from Myer, which shoppers can checkout using eBay’s Sight Search technology. Instead of getting inundated by all of the store’s goods all at once, you can create your own unique shopping experience by choosing only categories of products that you are interested in. The shopping experience also gets better as you continue using the service. Sight Search also learns consumers’ shopping preferences and this might in the near future make it possible for business owners to know their customers’ spending habits.
“It’s been important to us that we don’t just replicate the ecommerce experience in a virtual environment,” Managing Director of eBay Australia and New Zealand Jooman Park said in a post. “We are taking the best elements of traditional retail and expanding on them to improve browsing, selection, personalization and efficiency.”
The eBay Virtual Reality Department Store allows customers to place items that they like in a virtual shopping basket, but in order to make a payment, users have to step out of the virtual reality world and head back to their eBay app.
The online retailing giant might be the first eCommerce company to open a VR store, but this technology might soon take off as more shopping tools become available.