Executive Briefings

It's No Game: For Some Retailers, Virtual Reality Is Serious Business

The next thing you try on at the mall might be a virtual reality headset. No longer relegated to video gamers, VR is coming to amusement parks, movie theaters and classrooms. But the technology presents a major opportunity for retailers as they try to lure fickle shoppers into their stores, particularly as consumers shift more of their buying habits online.

Already, Ikea, Lowe's, Toms and North Face are turning to virtual reality to sell products, boost their brands and make shopping more fun.

Lowe's has added a futuristic edge to the often teeth-gnashing process of remodeling a kitchen or bathroom.

In 19 stores around the country the home improvement chain has installed a space that enables shoppers to see a 3-D mock-up of their renovation plans.

Called the Holoroom, the simulated space can be personalized with individual room sizes, equipment, colors and finishings. Shoppers can give Lowe's the dimensions of a room and fill it from a selection of thousands of Lowe's products.

Then they slip on an Oculus Rift virtual reality headset to look at how all the elements play together (an employee can switch out parts of the room while the customer is still looking). The design is also viewable at home on YouTube 360 with a Google Cardboard viewer, which Lowe's gives out free through on-site vending machines.

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Already, Ikea, Lowe's, Toms and North Face are turning to virtual reality to sell products, boost their brands and make shopping more fun.

Lowe's has added a futuristic edge to the often teeth-gnashing process of remodeling a kitchen or bathroom.

In 19 stores around the country the home improvement chain has installed a space that enables shoppers to see a 3-D mock-up of their renovation plans.

Called the Holoroom, the simulated space can be personalized with individual room sizes, equipment, colors and finishings. Shoppers can give Lowe's the dimensions of a room and fill it from a selection of thousands of Lowe's products.

Then they slip on an Oculus Rift virtual reality headset to look at how all the elements play together (an employee can switch out parts of the room while the customer is still looking). The design is also viewable at home on YouTube 360 with a Google Cardboard viewer, which Lowe's gives out free through on-site vending machines.

Read Full Article