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VR shopping tech enters online market

10 July 2018 - 09:55 by Mike Price

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US retail giant Walmart is set to become one of the first firms to offer virtual reality in combination with safe shopping online, according to Reuters.

The company said that it is in the process of creating a service that will let customers explore its stores in full 3D without having to actually visit them in person. They will be able to browse a range of products, walk down digital aisles and generally enjoy a truly immersive e-commerce experience unlike anything else.

The only downside is that the product line-up which will be compatible with the service is set to include just 70 different options, at least in the short term.

The products that are added will also be modelled in three dimensions, rather than being flat 2D images of the kind that are usually encountered when consumers carry out safe shopping online.

As well as rendering its own-brand products for use in the VR experience, Walmart is working with a number of major third parties to include additional branded items.

The idea is not just to give customers the opportunity to get up close and personal with objects without having to visit a store, but also to help them work out how particular items will look when they get them delivered and are ready to position them within their properties.

Consumers often complain of the complications that come with being unable to get hands-on experience of a product when they shop online. The rise of virtual reality shopping might help to address this, while also providing a benefit to retailers in the form of lower levels of returns.

While large firms like Walmart may be amongst the first to develop VR shopping apps, this technology should eventually be embraced more broadly as it becomes affordable.