Virtual reality could be the next big thing after the mobile shopping boom, and the brands want in.
Not just for gaming, the technology could also support retail and browsing experiences, and eBay is one of the first companies to take the leap.
Partnering with Australian retailer Myer, eBay launched what it called the world’s first virtual reality department store Wednesday. Shoppers can now look through thousands of Myer products without leaving home.
Once the iOS or Android eBay Virtual Reality Department Store app is downloaded, it works with headsets like Samsung’s Gear VR. eBay and Myer are also offering 20,000 free « shopticals » — basically just Google Cardboard headsets — to shoppers.
During a quick trial, the experience worked smoothly with a basic, mind map-style interface.
When you enter the virtual store, several categories of retail items are shown: women’s clothing, electronics and others. Users select areas of interest, and the experience is built around the choices. As you move through, selecting or rejecting items, the store’s algorithm should further adapt to what it thinks users might like.
If you want to take a closer look at a watch or bra, 100 of the top products are viewable in 3D, with the remaining 12,500 in 2D.
Instead of having hand controllers, users select items using only sight. The company has created « eBay Sight Search, » which allows items to be chosen by holding your gaze on them for a number of seconds.
Items can be added to the basket in the same fashion, but to check out, users have to take off the headset and return to the eBay app to put through the payment.