Online shopping has seen unprecedented growth over the past decade, with previously unknown companies growing both customer bases and product inventories. Now, purchasing products via the internet and having them shipped is a reality, changing the face of retailing.

Virtual reality (VR) could further enhance how online shopping is undertaken – and could eventually completely replace retail stores.

Current online shopping

Presently, our ability to procure items via the internet is well established, with seemingly little room for improvement. A customer is able to log onto either a vendor or store website, place an order and pay, and have the product shipped in a few days. This can even be accomplished via a cellphone or tablet from a remote location.

It would appear then that out way of procuring items leaves little room for improvement, and progressing from here will be incremental. Virtual reality has the ability to change this, and could make it an even better experience than retail shopping.

Using virtual reality

In place of using a cellphone, tablet or computer, customers may use a virtual reality headset from within the comfort of their own home. By placing the headset on and logging into a virtual store front, every object can be rendered expertly, and even manipulated to inspect finer details.

In the virtual store, additional information can be given through user reviews, and possibly help from store workers using the same VR technologies. Once an order has been placed, it’s simply dispatched via the post.

Current attempts at VR shopping

A number of platforms current exist to facilitate shopping via a virtual world, having been met with mixed success. While current platforms lack the virtual reality aspect, shopping via a digital environment is still a possibility.

PlayStation Home, a technology developed by Sony, enables players to navigate virtual shops using a digital representation of themselves. In addition, players can also attend virtual movie theatres with friends.

While not specifically virtual reality, the concept needn’t change when used with a headset. Potentially, VR shopping could become the way of the future.

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