eBay to Open Virtual Reality Shopping Store
Ebay to Release Virtual Reality Shopping Store
It’s a known fact that eBay is a player in this innovation, as they’ve always been known for taking online shopping to a whole new level, making it an experience their customers will never forget. Now imagine not having to leave the comfort of your own home but still be able to browse, examine, and purchase items in full 3-D—and all you have to do is to put on a headset.
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The first VR department store and its app will likely appeal to shopaholics and non-shopaholics alike. Although one can’t actually touch or try on a piece of clothing or stop at the food court when using this app, the customer can, however, save themselves from the trouble of finding their car keys, looking presentable, fighting for a spot in the parking lot, surviving huge and greedy crowds, and doing all that odious healthy walking stuff.
“We believe the next channel for retail will be virtual,” said Steve Brennen, eBay’s senior director of marketing and retail innovation. “We don’t build gimmicks . . . If retailers in the future are going to have an omni-channel strategy, it will include retailing a virtual world.”
What You Need to Get Started
To be able to use eBay’s virtual reality shopping store, users first need to get access to a Shoptical VR device, which looks just like Google’s Cardboard. After that, they have to download the eBay VR Department Store app (for iOS or Android) and insert their phone into the Shoptical device. Then they can begin a futuristic shopping experience, complete with personalized suggestions for items they might like, based on what they’ve been perusing through the app.
This shopping system is all about the eyes using eBay Sight Search. When shoppers look at an item, the app hones in on it and displays all pertinent information about it as well as a complete 360 visual of the item. In addition, when users choose a specific item, 100 of the top products in that category will become easy to see in 3-D. Built-in algorithms will also customize shoppers’ experience further as they select items and say no to others.
“Your eyes can move so quickly,” Brennen said. “It became pretty obvious. Sight Search in a VR world of retail feels very sensible. How much customers use it, do they love it, is where we’ll get to next.”
eBay says it will give out 20,000 Shopticals to shoppers at no charge as part of the trial. Then it will track the devices to see how customers use them, rate success, and see if a new trend emerges. The only downside of the technology is that users have to take off the headset and use the app manually for the checkout and payment portion of the process.
“We want to get it into customers’ hands and see how they respond, and then we want to adapt and take it to the next level,” Brennen said of the virtual reality shopping store. “We’re pretty clear it’s a glimpse, but we’re saying you can now start to see where the virtual shopping world will play out in the next couple of years.”
While the virtual reality shopping store will afford users an easy, fun way to shop, it will also give eBay and other online stores a much easier way to gather data from consumers.
“Does virtual reality mean you will shop for longer? Will customers browse for longer?” Brennen asked during the launch party of the device. “Will the conversion rate for online sales increase in this environment? Will the return rate for retailers slow down?”
It’s only a matter of time now before these queries get their much-needed answers.