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eBay Launches First Virtual Reality Department Store

eBay has created what it is calling the world’s first Virtual Reality Department Store with Australia’s Myer chain. Using a special virtual reality (VR) headset, eBay shoppers can browse over 12,000 products from the Myer Department Store, select them, and add them to the cart using “eBay Sight Search.”

The marketplace isn’t being modest about its ambitions. “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,” said the head of eBay Australia and New Zealand Jooman Park.

Here’s how eBay explained how virtual reality shopping works:

1) Personalise: the shopper selects their areas of interest at the beginning of the experience and the store is custom built around these needs, making the most relevant products visible first. As shoppers move through the store, the smart technology suggests other products that might be desirable or interesting, based on what the store knows about them.

2) Browse: using eBay Sight Search, the shopper views a product in the store and by holding their gaze on it, the product is selected and automatically floats towards them, with the top 100 products available to view in 3D, and more than 12,500 in 2D. The shopper is able to quickly move through different departments of the store, making the shopping experience much more time effective for today’s busy consumer.

3) Research: shoppers simply lock eyes on information icons to receive full product specifications, as well as price, availability and shipping details.

4) Purchase: shoppers just hold their eyes on the “Add to Basket” icon to complete their purchases via the eBay app.

The Virtual Reality Department Store connects to the existing eBay.com.au API (Application Programming Interface) which allows Myer’s product range, pricing and stock information to be updated in real time, a first for virtual reality experiences globally.

eBay and Myer are offering customers the opportunity to receive their own shopticals – which are specially designed virtual reality viewers – to start their VR shopping experience. eBay Australia is giving away 15,000 of the shopticals for free on its website.

Myer opened its eBay Store in February, joining over 30 of Australia’s top 50 retailers. eBay said it has 8 million-plus monthly visitors to the eBay Australia website, and over 28,000 small businesses operate on the Aussie site.

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Ina Steiner
Ina Steiner
Ina Steiner is co-founder and Editor of EcommerceBytes and has been reporting on ecommerce since 1999. She's a widely cited authority on marketplace selling and is author of "Turn eBay Data Into Dollars" (McGraw-Hill 2006). Her blog was featured in the book, "Blogging Heroes" (Wiley 2008). Follow her on Twitter at @ecommercebytes and send news tips to ina@ecommercebytes.com. See disclosure at EcommerceBytes.com/disclosure/.