Dozens of major retailers including Bloomingdale’s, Victoria’s Secret, Tesco, Walmart and Target are exploring VR. “The industry even has a new term for selling through virtual reality: v-commerce,” reports the New York Times.
The latest entrant is Tommy Hilfiger, which is offering a 3D retail experience in its 5th Ave. in Manhattan.
The company will be opening dedicated VR areas in London, Paris, Milan, Amsterdam, Dusseldorf, Florence, Zurich and Moscow stores. Using a Samsung GearVR device, shoppers will have an immersive virtual experience that creates the impression of sitting live in the front row at Manhattan’s Park Avenue Armory at showtime on February 16, 2015, when the Fall 2015 Hilfiger Collection was originally presented.
Hilfiger worked with WeMakeVR, developers of 360-degree 3D virtual reality experiences. “Users get an incredible peek behind the scenes. They stand next to models right before they walk out onto the runway, and they feel the excitement of being backstage after the show,” said WeMakeVR founder and CEO Avinash Changa in the release. “Cinema in 3-D was a trick, a gimmick. But VR can be relevant. We’re applying the technology beyond the gimmick.”
VR and v-commerce are trending and fashion retail is a perfect fit. “Retailers who still think virtual reality is just for hard-core gamers should think again,” reports Retailing Today.
Designer Rebecca Minkoff started selling Google Cardboard headsets for viewing her fall-winter 2015 show in VR and last year partnered with eBay to bring immersive digital technology to her brick-and-mortar stores, powering touchscreen interactive displays and digital fitting rooms.
The North Face campaign in March virtually transported customers via Google Cardboard to Yosemite National Park and the Moab desert as they shop. “It’s impossible to put the headset on and not smile—I think this is a testament to how real the experience is and how well it connects with our inner need to adventure and explore,” said Aaron Carpenter, VP Marketing, The North Face, in a press release.
The immersive 360-degree 3D video and audio experience developed and powered by Jaunt gives users a sense of “presence” in those virtual environments.
Target has created the first-ever “choose-your-own-adventure” 360-degree experience on YouTube. Its “The House on Hallow Hill,” for instance, teases Halloween and delivers 3D ghoulish vignettes of zombie dinner parties and a frightful carnival…as well instant shoppable merchandise including decorated pumpkins, skull buckets, costumes and more.