Ebay and Australian department store group Myer have partnered to launch a virtual reality (VR) shopping experience, where users browse online via the power of their gaze.
Shoppers must download Ebay's Virtual Reality Department Store mobile app, which can be used with any VR headset – including its own, dubbed Shopticals. To promote the project, 20,000 headsets are being given away until June 2.
Users can browse more than 12,500 products including homeware, fashion and electronics, displayed as a swirling network of interconnected icons. Sight Search tech, developed in-house, lets users view enlarged 3D models of items from multiple angles and change product categories by holding their gaze over directory icons. They can also enter their measurements to see garments presented on a similarly proportioned model.
Iterative machine learning is key; the tool learns consumers' preferences as they browse – interjecting with personalised offers and recommendations. Users can also select their interests at the beginning of the experience, triggering products deemed most relevant to appear first.
To purchase, users shift their gaze to the 'Add to Basket' icon, which redirects them to the main Ebay app to complete transactions. Future plans include the integration of direct payments, and the capacity to shop in groups. "We are glimpsing a future where a shopper in Sydney could be shopping with a friend in New York from a store in London," said Steve Brennen, senior director of marketing and retail innovation at Ebay Australia & New Zealand.