Will virtual reality transform web shopping?
According to Walker Sands’ "2015 Future of Retail Study," more than a third of consumers (35 percent) would do more online shopping if they were able to try on a products virtually using a device like Oculus Rift.
Nearly half (49 percent) of survey participants are interested in trying Oculus Rift once it comes out this summer and one-third would be interested in purchasing such a product (32 percent).
Two in three (66 percent) would be interested in virtual shopping, and 63 percent expect such capabilities to change the way they shop. On the other hand, 22 percent indicated they would be less likely to visit a physical store with the introduction of such technology. The study is based on an analysis of more than 1,400 U.S. consumers.
Virtual reality headsets have been limited to hardcore virtual reality enthusiasts and gaming content developers but consumer versions are coming.
Oculus VR, which Facebook acquired last year for $2 billion, has yet to officially confirm the release date of the Oculus Rift consumer version, although various reports are pointing to April. Supporting its arrival, Facebook indicated last week that it was adding virtual reality capabilities to its apps for social engagement.
Samsung recently began demoing and selling Gear VR, its phone-powered virtual reality headset, at 100 Best Buy stores across the U.S. Beyond scores of startups, other major players in the space include Sony, Microsoft and Google, which last year invested $500 million in Magic Leap, a product promising a better 3-D experience than Oculus Rift.
Writing for Wired last year, Brian Shuster, CEO of Utherverse Digital, said he believes the arrival of virtual reality will be every bit as transformative as the World Wide Web. Soon enough, he wrote, people will be able to completely redesign their homes in minutes after viewing 3-D virtual replicas of their interior spaces, experience roller coaster rides from far-off amusement parks on their couch, and be transported to shopping malls with friends.
Wrote Mr. Shuster, "Everything you see is your size, and you can try outfits on an avatar that has your identical proportions. You can match items with an online inventory containing a copy of every item of clothing in your real-world closet."
- Reinventing Retail: What Businesses Need to Know for 2015 Whitepaper – Walker Sands
- Virtual Reality Will Change Online Shopping, Sooner than You Think – ecommerce bytes
- Could Virtual Reality Revitalize the Economy? – Wired
- Best Buy begins selling virtual reality with Samsung’s Gear VR – Verge
- Facebook is building virtual reality versions of its apps that will let you share ‘entire experiences’ with friends – Daily Mail
- The Layman’s Guide To Virtual Reality – Fast Company
What do you think the arrival of virtual reality technology will mean for e-commerce? How will it affect physical stores?