Myer, eBay trial virtual reality retailing

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Myer, eBay trial virtual reality retailing
Thelma VR shops on Myer's eBay store until the camels come home. Source: supplied.

VR feature built into site API.

Myer and eBay have partnered to offer virtual reality retailing as a test case for the viability of the shopping experience.

The pair's VR store is "fully functioning, but definitely a bit of an experiment", according to eBay spokesperson Megan English.

"Rather than running focus groups or surveys we are getting the product out there and letting people use it to in a real way to gather insights," English said.

The VR stores are not exclusive to Myer. The online stores are built into the eBay site application programming interface, allowing other merchants to use them. A wider rollout of the VR experience will be informed by the Myer trial.

"It's too early to say where this will go from here, we will be relying on shoppers to tell us what they want and what they think to shape potential future iterations," English said.

eBay Australia managing director Jooman Park said the pair had tried to avoid replicating 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," Park said in a statement.

The VR experience is delivered through an app on smartphones in conjunction with foldable carton "shopticals" provided by eBay, or VR goggles from other vendors.

Myer has 12,600 products available in its eBay store. The top 100 are in 3D and can be selected by shoppers by looking at them - the products appear to float towards customers in VR.

Virtual reality shopping has been in development for the last couple of years, as affordable mass-market viewers such as the Samsung Gear VR and Oculus Rift goggles land on the market.

Microsoft and Volvo designed a VR car showroom in November last year, and travel bureau Thomas Cook trialled the holiday booking "Try Before You Fly" site for Samsung's Gear VR goggles.

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