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eBay, Myer partner to develop world’s first virtual reality department store

RBR Staff Writer Published 19 May 2016

Online retailer eBay is partnering with Australian department store group Myer to develop the world’s first virtual reality department store through an app.

eBay virtual store

The app, which works through a smartphone, inside a virtual reality headset takes shoppers into a virtual world of products to purchase.

eBay plans to launch the app in Australia to assess the behavior of Australian shoppers inside virtual reality in order to prepare broader plans for the growing online retail channel.

The app works with virtual reality headsets like Samsung's Gear VR and Google Cardboard.

eBay and Myer are providing 15,000 customers with a free cardboard viewer, which is named a shoptical.

Myer CEO Richard Umbers was quoted by The Australian Financial Review as saying: "This exciting collaboration with eBay reaffirms our commitment to omni-channel and 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."

Using the app, customers can shop different types of products and add them to shopping cart same as they shop online.

According to eBay Australia and New Zealand marketing and retail innovation senior director Steve Brennen, the app was designed in a span of 12 months and intends to provide Australian shoppers with a quick preview of future shopping experience, reported the publication.

The company plans to closely monitor shopping behavior of the customers to understand their likes and rejections in the new environment.

Brennen said: "In a sense this is stage one with the market testing it, so we can learn something. We see technology leaps and platform changes coming in the future.

"We knew Australia was ready to go first with this because we see how much VR equipment is being bought here on eBay ... from January through to April we've already sold tens of thousands of headsets."

The app will display related products as customers continue to add products to their shopping cart.

Brennen added: "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.

"Personalisation will also mean in future an individual will have their own virtual reality store that is built up by their past purchases and tastes ... only showing products in their size and shape. This will make it a serious new retail channel."

Image: eBay, Myer develop virtual reality store. Photo: Courtesy of blackzheep/FreeDigitalPhotos.net.