Myer has built the world’s first virtual reality department store.
And to get people inside the store, the retailer and eBay are giving away what they call “shopticals”, 15,000 virtual reality headsets made of cardboard.
CEO Richard Umbers says the collaboration with eBay creates another dimension to omni-channel marketing.
“Our customers can now immerse themselves in the experience of shopping inside a Myer store from wherever they may be, with product information updated in real time to ensure everyone can keep up with the latest offers from Myer,” he says.
“This really showcases a department store that can bring the love of shopping to life across both physical and digital environments.”
This latest announcement builds on Myer’s plans to transform the old-style department store. Its sales have been flat compared to competitor David Jones, now owned by South African company Woolworths Holdings, but recently there have been signs of improvement.
Myer’s new strategy includes $480 million in capital investment and a target of greater than 3% improvement a year in sales between next year and 2020. The current financial year is a transitional one, carrying costs of the strategy.
The latest quarterly results show Myer’s half year sales rising 1.8% to $1.79 billion, or 3.3% on comparable store sales basis.
Inside the virtual store, more than 12,500 products from Myer can be browsed, selected and added to a cart using eBay Sight Search, a way to make selections and decisions by just looking at an item.
Here’s a video of what the store looks like:
The virtual reality store connects to the existing eBay.com.au API (Application Programming Interface) which allows Myer’s product range, pricing and stock information to be updated in real time.
Owners of shopticals download the eBay VR Department Store app and insert their phone into the shopticals to start virtual shopping.
Jooman Park, managing director eBay Australia and New Zealand, says the store doesn’t just replicate the ecommerce experience in a virtual environment.
“We are taking the best elements of traditional retail and expanding on them to improve browsing, selection, personalisation and efficiency,” he says.
“We hope our shopticals make it into the hands of technology lovers, but more importantly, shoppers who might not live close to a department store and can now experience virtual shopping from the comfort of their own home.”
How it works:
Personalise: The shopper selects areas of interest and the store is custom built around that. As shoppers move through the store, the technology suggests other products that might interesting, based on what the store knows about them.
Browse: The shopper sees something they like and, by holding their gaze on it, the product is selected and automatically floats towards them. The eye sees a grid around the product slowly turn from green to red. Keeping the eye on the product selects it. The top 100 products are available to view in 3D, and more than 12,500 are in 2D.
Research: Locking eyes on information icons brings up full product specifications, as well as price, availability and shipping details.
Purchase:Again, holding eyes on the “Add to Basket” icon completes purchases via the eBay app.
Myer does the fulfillment or delivery.