MYER and eBay have joined forces to create what they say is the world's first virtual reality department store.
And to promote the new technology, they are giving away more than 15,000 'Shopticals' - cardboard virtual reality viewers for free at www.ebay.com/VR
But it seems, you had to be be quick with the 'daily allocation' of 1000 exhausted on Thursday morning soon after the virtual store announcement went out.
However, Google Cardboard VR devices are available for about $5.95, along with more expensive, and sophisticated alternatives.
Using the devices, shoppers will be able to scan more than 12,500 products from Myer using eBay's Sight Search technology.
Users can personalise their shopping experience, selecting only the types of items they are interested in.
eBay says the more customers use the devices, the more personalised the service becomes.
In a promotional video, eBay says customers can not only browse outside of products but also go inside them virtually.
Sharyn, from Cedar Creek, Qld, was pretty impressed.
"You can flip the items around so you can see top, bottom, sides. It was just fantastic,'' she says on the video.
Jooman Park, managing director eBay Australia and New Zealand said: "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.
"It's been important to us that we don't just replicate the ecommerce experience in a virtual environment. We are taking the best elements of traditional retail and expanding on them to improve browsing, selection, personalization and efficiency."
Myer CEO and Managing Director, Richard Umbers said: "Our customers can now immerse themselves in the experience of shopping inside a Myer store from wherever they may be, with product information updated in real time to ensure everyone can keep up with the latest offers from Myer.
"This really showcases a department store that can bring the love of shopping to life across both physical and digital environments."
Would you shop using virtual reality technology?
This poll ended on 26 May 2016.
Yes. I reckon it's cool
No. I would rather go to a real store
Yes. If it means seeing a greater range
No. It's going to put people out of jobs
Yes. We don't have a Myer in our area
Only if I get a free set of VR goggles
This is not a scientific poll. The results reflect only the opinions of those who chose to participate.
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.
Sydney residents and visitors are also able to experience the VR Department Store by booking their place at a special exhibition at The Harbourside Room, Level 6, 140 George St, Sydney on Thursday 19 May and Friday 20 May. Places can be secured via Eventbrite (http://ebay-myer-world-first-digital-innovation.eventbrite.com.au).
Owners of shopticals simply download the eBay VR Department Store app on their smart phone, and insert their phone into the shopticals with the app open to start their virtual shopping experience.
How it 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.