Lo-res_ATK3ED-SCan’t get to Australia this week? Get yourself a shoptical—a cardboard viewer that supports virtual reality applications—and you too can shop the inventory at Australia’s Myer department store, through an eBay-enabled function.

The latest step forward in shopping technology allows consumers to insert their smartphones into the virtual reality headset, then browse through about 12,000 items, without moving anything but their eye gaze. Using eBay’s proprietary Sight Search function, consumers can focus their gaze on any product to obtain constantly updated details and information about the offerings, their availability, and their prices. As an advertisement for the app asks, what if you could experience department store shopping without walls, floors, or escalators? But it also promises to be even better than an in-store experience, because you can look in and through products, seeing the materials and elements up close.

Furthermore, as users make their selections, by gazing at the products that interest them, the app learns their preferences, so that the next time they use it, they will see related and pertinent items. For example, the app begins by encouraging users to select a few product categories, so single people without children are unlikely to be distracted by offerings for children’s clothing on their future visits.

To promote the new shopping channel, eBay has offered 20,000 shopticals for free to Myer customers. Are you ready to strap the headset on to browse the inventory yet?


Discussion Questions:

  1. Would you shop at the Myer’s/eBay virtual reality store? Why or why not?

Source: George Anderson, Retail Wire, May 19, 2016. See also https://youtu.be/yAuiXhJPnr8