Merchant Innovation

eBay Australia Dives Into Virtual Reality Retail

eBay Jumps Into Virtual Reality

EBay was one of the pioneers of online commerce in the early days of the Internet, provided through 30-day free installments from America Online. Fast forward to 2016, and eBay has carved out its own niche of sales in a crowded market. And it isn't afraid to embrace new technologies to capture more.

EBay Australia has announced a deal with department store Myer to delve into interactive shopping with virtual reality, including 15,000 headsets given away for free to jumpstart the project. Jooman Park, managing director of eBay Australia and New Zealand, explained that the virtual department store, complemented by eBay's Sight Search software that allows users to navigate catalogs and select items with their eyes, will revolutionize how merchants operate in formats outside of the webpage tradition — like Myer's VR catalog featuring more than 12,500 products.

"It’s been important to us that we don’t just replicate the eCommerce experience in a virtual environment," Park said in a statement. "We are taking the best elements of traditional retail and expanding on them to improve browsing, selection, personalization and efficiency.”

Users strapped in to one of eBay and Myer's "shoptical" headsets can use the direction and length of their gazes to move around the virtual listings, while pointed looks at certain headings within the field of view — "Exit" and "Add to Basket," for example — will do the same thing a click in the desktop world does.

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