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But making this Chinese entry with a virtual reality app is a decidedly odd move. Although virtual reality can help surgeons-in-training to safely explore a body or for pilots to learn the intricacies of flying a new aircraft, it may be hard to see how it's either an efficient means of shopping or an impressive way to experience a department store.
Virtual reality is a tool that delivers experiences. That's not what online shopping is, at least not in this app. Done properly, e-commerce allows a shopper to visit, get what they need and get out as quickly as possible. Retail experiences are one way for in-store merchants to flourish, but they depend on the smells of different perfumes, the touch of delicate fabrics, the taste of a hot appetizer, the ability to flip through the pages of a book at the shopper's speed.
Online, though, retailers need to focus on speed, accuracy and intuition. That's when a well-thought-through site analyzes shoppers' choices and correctly guesses what they really want and makes that pop up instantly for them.
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