The internet has had a radical impact on the way we shop, taking us beyond the traditional store and into a world where we choose what we buy by scrolling through images of the products on offer.
But the traditional retail space could be set to return through the medium of virtual reality, thanks to a virtual store concept in development by London-based startup Trillenium.
The idea is to develop a real-time immersive shopping experience, where customers can walk though virtual shops, examine virtual versions of real-life products and make purchases like they would in the real world.
“We plan to change the online shopping beyond the current ‘drag and drop to your cart’ style,” explained Trillenium founder and CEO Hrvoje Prpic in an email to Factor.
“This said, we want to create an immersive experience to enable consumers to enjoy online shopping just the way they would do in the real-life stores.”
With claimed support for Oculus Rift, Google Cardboard, Samsung Gear VR, HTC Vive and Project Morpheus, Trillenium is presenting itself as a retail experience that consumers would be able to access simply by sitting on their sofa and donning a headset.
“This means consumers will be able to just put on the virtual goggles and do all those things they would normally do in the real stores, such as interact with shop assistants, try on the clothes, interact with other visitors and walk around – all this from their living room,” added Prpic.
“Our goal is to transform online shopping into a real-life experience.”
A beta version is of the VR store system is due for next year, and if all goes well the public version should be finished by the end of 2016.
But this hasn’t stopped the company from gaining serious interest from the retail world alreafy.
The fashion giant ASOS, the biggest fashion store on the web, has partnered with Trillenium on the project, and the demo itself is styled to match the brand’s online presence.
However, what the final stores will look like remains to be seen, and is likely to depend on the company in question. In theory VR could create stores that bend reality in directions not possible in real life, but Prpic envisions the technology providing an experience far closer to a real-world shopping mall.
“We still don’t know what the space will look like – it will definitely depend on customers,” said Prpic.
“We have an idea to offer a real-life experience and be exactly like in the real world. ASOS already suggested to take advantage of all possibilities offered by VR.”