Does the future of retailing lie in a virtual shopping experience? That is what digital marketing agency SapientNitro and VR technology platform Sixense, are hoping may be the next wave of digital commerce.
Introducing the VR Shopping Platform
Sixense has shown off their technology before with their impressive STEM System advanced weapon mechanics and light saber battles in virtual reality. With less guns and robots, Sixense is also developing a virtual retailing solution it has been working on in parallel with these other experiences. This past week, Sixense announced a partnership with SapientNitro and the availability of a VR shopping platform called vRetail.
Imagine your own private shopping experience where it is just you, a mannequin with your exact proportions, and shelves of shoes. You reach out and grab a shoe off the rack; it floats in midair with the style’s description and color selection. Tap a button to change the color, tap another button to see a video of it on a model in a showroom, throw it at the mannequin to see how it looks on a foot, and then add it to your cart. That is the idea behind the VR shopping platform vRetail.
So would you shop for shoes in virtual reality? Probably not yet, but it’s good to see the involvement of SapientNitro, purchased last year by advertising giant Publicis as part of a $3.7 billion deal. According to SapientNitro’s client roster, they are proud to show work from brands like Activision, Audi, Foot Locker, Staples, and Target. (Target has an innovation lab that tests virtual reality) All very prominent clients who are probably in some way shape or form discussing the future of virtual reality and their digital business objectives.
The Future of Virtual Reality Shopping
Although some may be skeptical about a virtual reality experience for shoe shopping and how that may add to the experience when compared to traditional e-commerce, the idea behind VR retail can immediately show promises in other categories.
Instead of shoe shopping, imagine the potential for automotive consumers to be able to sit inside a car, take in the interior features, and go on a virtual drive down Pacific Coast Highway. Home shoppers would welcome a way for them to virtually visit an open house, actually feel a sense of presence in the open floor plan, and maybe even touch a wall to change the color to their liking. Travel and tourism would be able to transport consumers to their resort in Bali, show them the room choices, and have that guest breath in the beach air from a number of different balcony views.
The potential growth of consumer access to virtual reality experiences, whether through Samsung’s Gear VR or the low priced Google Cardboard, will create an entirely new market of digital consumers, hungry to download the latest VR experience. Whether shopping for shoes or shopping for a car, one thing is for sure, marketers will be right there with their latest and greatest immersive experience.