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Innovation

Myer and eBay open virtual reality department store

Myer and eBay have partnered to launch the world’s first “virtual reality (VR) department store.”

More than 12,500 products from Myer’s inventory have been uploaded to a VR environment and, using a VR headset, they can be browsed, selected and added to a shopping cart.

The Virtual Reality Department Store connects to the existing eBay.com.au API which allows Myer’s product range, pricing and stock information to be updated in real time.

“Until now we have not had the opportunity to physically experience the transformative effect VR could have on retail,” said Jooman Park, MD of eBay Australia and New Zealand. “By building the world’s first VR Department Store here in Australia and observing the reactions of thousands of consumers who trial the experience, we have the opportunity to lead the world into the next phase of retailing.

“It’s been important to us that we don’t just replicate the e-commerce 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.”

Myer CEO and MD, Richard Umbers said the collaboration with eBay reaffirms its omnichannel commitment to building a truly contemporary and innovative retail offer.

“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,” Umbers said.

“This really showcases a department store that can bring the love of shopping to life across both physical and digital environments.”

15,000 ‘shopticals,’ — specially designed virtual reality headsets similar to Google cardboard — are available for free as part of the launch; with an exhibition at The Harbourside Room in Sydney offering shoppers a chance to experience the VR department store today and tomorrow.

Owners of shopticals can download the eBay VR Department Store app on their smartphone, and insert their phone into the headset with the app open to start their virtual shopping experience.

“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,” said Park.

Keep an eye out for the next edition of Inside Retail Weekly for more insight on the virtual department store from Steve Brennen, senior director marketing and retail innovation at eBay; and Mark Cripsey, chief digital & data officer at Myer.

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