StubHub And eBay Team Up To Give You A Better View
Ebay, like many other companies, is convinced that virtual reality is the next big hit. And along with a lot of those other companies, eBay is trying to figure out what that means for their business and how they can utilize the technology.
The company has announced its first jump into the VR arena, as the subsidiary StubHub offers Final Four ticket purchasers the option to try a fully immersive, 3-D view of the seats that are available. The home of the San Francisco Giants will be offering a similar option as those looking to purchase baseball tickets for the AT&T Park will be able to have the same view.
The Virtual Reality experience will come from inside the existing StubHub apps for iOS and Android. Consumers will have the ability to choose either a smartphone or tablet and can rotate it to see different views. They will also have the option of popping their phone into a VR headset like Google Cardboard or Gear VR for a more immersive view.
“We didn’t want to do something just for fun or [as] a marketing gimmick,” states Marcus Shelksohn who is StubHub’s head of product for mobile apps. People are always wondering if they are making the best choice with their hard-earned dollars, so being able to see what the view is like solves a real problem for customers, he said. “Are those seats that are closer to the court really worth the extra $50?”
Other teams and venues have also seen the potential for marketing that using this virtual reality technology can have, so StubHub isn’t alone. There are many online ticket sellers, teams and venues also working to offer interactive seat maps using VR.
Rival Rukkus is working on offering hopeful seat buyers a chance to look at potential seats using immersive panoramic photography. StubHub, on the other hand, has chosen to use 3-D renderings instead of actual photography.
StubHub executives think the 3-D renderings offer a cleaner method that is also potentially less costly to produce to give ticket buying customers a preview of their would-be seats.
The CEO of eBay, Devin Wenig, thinks that virtual reality has been overstated for a long time, but is coming to see that it will more than likely not be a passing fad in the marketing world.
“It is not a feature; it is a platform,” he said.
Although, figuring out what the potential means for an online marketplace like eBay is still unclear. Wenig said that he sees the largest opportunity for eBay is probably in high-priced categories like cars, paintings, fashion, and antiques, where a customer getting a close-up view matters in a different way than on commodity purchases.
“The plan is to start to attack some of those more emotionally driven categories where the trust gap is hard to bridge,” he was quoted as saying.
Wenig calls this endeavor with StubHub an experiment and that it won’t be eBay’s last. There are plans in the works with other endeavors for the core brand. The initial Virtual Reality effort was put together in a few weeks by fewer than a dozen people and offered maps of Houston’s NRG Stadium and AT&T Park. If technology like this can be put together in such a short time with such a small amount of people, just think of the potential that is to come.