eBay and Myer launch world's first Virtual Reality department store

The companies have created their own VR-viewer headsets, called Shoptical, and are being distributed for free to 15,000 customers to begin the VR shopping experience.

By Nithya Palaniyappan Published Date
20 - May - 2016
| Last Updated
20 - May - 2016
eBay and Myer launch world’s first Virtual Reality department sto...

Global ecommerce firm eBay and the Australian retail chain, Myer, have partnered to create a virtual reality department store. The eBay VR Department Store app aims to provide the department store shopping experience, irrespective of where the user is. It enables users to view different products, see product information updated in real-time, and add them to a shopping cart. The companies claim this to be the world’s first VR department store.

For this venture, they are providing 15,000 shoppers with a free cardboard viewer, called Shoptical. The app works on Android and iOS smartphones, aided by VR-viewer devices, such as Google cardboard and also on VR headsets such as Samsung’s Gear VR.

For the shopper to view more details about a product, users need to hover over the information icons of a particular product’s 3D model. This technique is called ‘Sight Search’ and it gives details, such as the product specifications, price, availability and shipping. To purchase a product, the user has to gaze at the ‘Add to Basket’ icon and it will switch them to the eBay app, where they can complete the purchase.

The app took one year to design and at present, there are over 12,000 products available. For eBay, this venture is also to observe how customers behave in a VR environment. This information will help improve in developing its plans for the new retail channel that it plans to launch soon.

“We really are glimpsing a future where future versions will see a shopper in Sydney shopping with a friend in New York from a store in London,” said Steve Brennen, Senior Director Marketing, Advertising Sales & Retail Innovation, eBay in a statement.

Nithya PalaniyappanNithya Palaniyappan