Virtual reality shopping experiences, the disruptive 2016 trend [5 Reading tips]

© bizoo_n / Fotolia.com
© bizoo_n / Fotolia.com

Living experiences beyond the real world and feel yourself inside the game. It seems 2016 will be the year in which virtual reality is taking shape, not only in the videogames sector but also in business, like Volvo and Media Saturn are currently doing. The tech majors such as Samsung and Google have been working for the last two years on it and some rumours suggest that the latter will release its new VR glasses by the end of the year.

Against every expectation, indicated by the poor market share Google Glass could gain, VR hardware can be extremely useful for business and especially can help brick and mortar stores in their way towards the digitalization. At the same time, shoppers would be able to live a completely intense and unique shopping experience in 3D using their five senses without leaving home. That’s why companies are starting timidly to test this technology.

SATURN: the VR pioneer in-store

It is the case of Media-Saturn, who announced last week they are currently testing virtual kitchen planning at its stores in Ingolstadt and Alexander Platz in Berlin. Customers simply put on a virtual reality headset (a developer version of the HTC Vive) and move freely with it inside a virtual space. Once there, they have the opportunity to select different kitchen models and modify them to suit their needs by changing the front color or by replacing the appliances, transmitting the movement in the real world completely into the virtual world.

However, virtual kitchen planning is only one of the several virtual reality offers, with which Saturn aims to boost and enhance the shopping experience for its customer. In fact, there are already other sectors in which VR technology is emerging to.

Besides Media-Saturn, other companies are using this technology to help customers understand a product, visualize an idea or project, and even to explore space.

Volvo offers full reality tours of its new car XC90

When you visit a car dealer because you are looking for the perfect car for you, it is essential to test it and to be inside the car. That’s why it is traditional to drive along a few kilometers. However, the trend allows you the same sensations without leaving home by the new Volvo Reality app.

All you need is your smartphone and the Google Cardboard. You will be able to perform a fully-ever test drive, letting you immerse in an exciting driving experience that is expected to drive in more sales for the company and the rise of conversion rates.

Google is planning to release a new version of its Cardboard

Talking about Google Cardboard, rumours have it that Google has plans to release an upgrade version of its already mentioned VR gadget later this year. A new report from The Financial Times, published by The Verge, indicates that the Mountain View-based company is planning to release more substantial virtual reality glasses similar to the Samsung’s Gear VR.

Currently, the Google Cardboard, which has been around for over a year and a half, provides two plastic lenses and just holds your smartphone in the right position to function as a VR device. The new prototype will have a new plastic case and will support a far wider range of smartphones than the Gear VR.

It is clear that there is a lot of movement behind virtual technology and we are looking forward to knowing more about new releases and its implications for business. Probably, Google will have more news for us in May, when they will hold their annual developer conference.

Will Oculus Riff explore other sectors?

We have been talking about the main virtual reality glasses settled in the market but one is still missing. The Oculus Rift, acquired from Facebook two years ago, has been focused since the beginning on the videogames sector. The question arises: Would it take the leap into the business sector? A company representative, according to cio.com, said they are actively exploring this field.

Laird Malamed, the COO of Oculus explained to the mentioned website the following:

» Imagine being in a product review with people from around the globe – your operations lead is at the manufacturing plant, your marketing head is visiting an ad agency, your product lead is at the R&D Lab and your CEO is at HQ. In VR you will be able to all be together and have the product in that virtual space.”

Laird Malamed,
COO of Oculus «

Heading to Augmented Reality (AR)

As you can see, the horizon is limitless in the virtual space. The majors are warming up motors to make the most of VR and offer amazing shopping experiences to the customers without leaving home or at the store, consuming less time than before. With the development of this technology, brands are definitely answering the challenges address by their demanding customers: more resources to help them to take the most suitable decision for their real needs.

The limits between reality and virtuality blur, so much that its evolution can really transform the current perspectives about how we see our digital world, making VR just a step to AR, already in a very advanced stage with the one and only Microsoft Hololens.

Our 5 reading tips of the week:

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